Utopia: The History of an Idea
Aspirations for a better – even a perfect – society have existed throughout history, often imagined in intricate detail by philosophers, poets, social reformers, architects and artists. This book explores a perennially powerful idea: the quest for the ideal society.
Gregory Claeys surveys the influence of the idea of Utopia on history. Central to his exploration of ideal worlds are creation myths; archetypes of heaven and the afterlife; new worlds and voyages of discovery; ages of revolution and technological progress; model communities and kibbutzim; political and ecological dystopias; space travel and science fiction. The most significant utopias throughout history – whether envisaged or attempted – are covered, including visions of the ideal society in the West as well as American, Asian, African and the Arab worlds.
From classical times to the present day, this compelling book traces the enduring human need to imagine and construct ideal worlds.
Gregory Claeys has been Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway since 1992. His many books include Utopia, Thomas Paine and the Pelican book Marx and Marxism.