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Cambridge University Press
The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature

The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature

by Gregory Claeys


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The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature

Since the publication of Thomas More's genre-defining work Utopia in 1516, the field of utopian literature has evolved into an ever-expanding domain. This Companion presents an extensive historical survey of the development of utopianism, from the publication of Utopia to today's dark and despairing tendency towards dystopian pessimism, epitomised by works such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Chapters address the difficult definition of the concept of utopia, and consider its relation to science fiction and other literary genres. The volume takes an innovative approach to the major themes predominating within the utopian and dystopian literary tradition, including feminism, romance and ecology, and explores in detail the vexed question of the purportedly 'western' nature of the concept of utopia. The reader is provided with a balanced overview of the evolution and current state of a long-standing, rich tradition of historical, political and literary scholarship.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521714143
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 09/06/2010
Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature Series
Pages: 316
Sales rank: 471,513
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Gregory Claeys is Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has edited Utopias of the British Enlightenment (1994), Modern British Utopias. c.1700�850 (8 volumes, 1997), Restoration and Augustan British Utopias (2000), Late Victorian Utopias (6 volumes, 2008) and other works. He has written several studies of aspects of the Owenite socialist movement, of the French revolution debate in Britain, and of Thomas Paine's thought. His most recent book is Imperial Sceptics: British Critics of Empire, 1850�920 (Cambridge, 2010).

Table of Contents

Preface Gregory Claeys; Brief chronology of key works of utopian literature and thought; Part I. History: 1. The concept of utopia Fátima Vieira; 2. Thomas More's Utopia: sources, legacy and interpretation J. C. Davis; 3. Utopianism after More: the Renaissance and Enlightenment Nicole Pohl; 4. Varieties of nineteenth-century utopias Kenneth M. Roemer; 5. The origins of dystopia: Wells, Huxley and Orwell Gregory Claeys; Part II. Literature: 6. Utopia, dystopia and science fiction Peter Fitting; 7. Utopia and Romance Patrick Parrinder; 8. Feminism and utopianism Alessa Johns; 9. Colonial and post-colonial utopias Lyman Tower Sargent; 10. 'Non-western' utopian traditions Jacqueline Dutton; 11. Ecology and utopia Brian Stableford; Further reading.

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