(3499 words)
  • Damian Grace (University of Sydney)

Literary/ Cultural Context Essay

  • The Literary Encyclopedia. Volume 12: Global Voices, Global Histories: World Literatures and Cultures.

In common usage, “utopia” and “utopian” are pejorative terms. Utopia denotes any impractical, fanciful or unrealisable political proposal or social strategy. Utopians are dreamers with an insecure grasp of reality. In scholarly circles, utopia carries few such negative overtones, but its meaning is still disputed (for a good overview of the controversies see Levitas, 1990). Some argue that it broadly encompasses any depiction of a perfect or best-possible society, embracing works from Hesiod, through Plato and More to B. F. Skinner (an example of this assumption is Kateb, 1963; for a broad sweep of early modern and modern utopias see Manuel,1979). Others argue that its reference is more restricted. This article will argue that, w…

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Grace, Damian. "Utopia". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 November 2009
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1650, accessed 30 June 2015.]

Related Groups

  1. Utopias/ Utopian Thought and Fiction