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Utopia

Subject: Music

Formed in 1974 by Todd Rundgren (b. 22 June 1948, Upper Darby, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; guitar/vocals), this progressive rock band was initially known as Todd Rundgren’s Utopia and ...

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A Dictionary of Philosophy (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
Philosophy
Length:
91 words

... (Greek, no place) A utopia is an ideal place or state of life. The term derives from the Utopia of Thomas More ( 1516 ). Visions of ideal communities and ways of living have naturally informed many political platforms, although the conceptions of human nature that they imply are usually highly simplistic. Hence utopianism, or the recommending and criticizing of political action in the light of supposed ideal systems or utopias. Dystopias tend to be more vividly imagined, just as hell is easier to conceive than...

Utopia

Utopia ([Lit.])   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Reference and Allusion (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Language reference
Length:
80 words

... [Lit.] The name (literally ‘No-Place’) of an imaginary island, governed on a perfect political and social system, in the book Utopia ( 1516 ) by Sir Thomas More . > An imaginary place or condition of ideal perfection (adjective Utopian ) We got talking about the permissive sexual mores of the ancient Polynesians, which Yolande described as ‘the kind of sexual Utopia we were all pursuing in the sixties—free love and nudity and communal child-rearing’. David Lodge Paradise News ...

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Oxford Dictionary of Word Origins (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2021
Subject:
Language reference, History of English
Length:
170 words

...utopia [M16th] The English scholar and statesman Sir Thomas More wrote Utopia in Latin in 1516, depicting an imaginary island enjoying a perfect social, legal, and political system. The name implies that such an ideal place exists ‘nowhere’, as More created it from Greek ou ‘not’, and topos ‘place’ the source of terms such as topography [LME], the arrangement of the physical features of an area. In the 17th century other writers started using utopia for other imaginary places where everything is perfect. The opposite of a utopia is a dystopia where...

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A Dictionary of Critical Theory (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2018

...and unrealistic, making utopia into a pejorative, at least in political discourse. But this misconstrues More’s purpose and misunderstands what utopia is: it is not the end result, the perfect place, that is crucial, but rather the process of imagining what it would take to make the present world different than it is. Utopia resides not in the ideal dream of global equality, for example, but in the practical problems associated with achieving that dream. Utopia means being prepared to alter the status quo and refusing to accept the dogma that ‘there is no...

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A Dictionary of Human Geography

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Social sciences, Human Geography
Length:
45 words

... An imagined place or state of perfection. The opposite is dystopia. Utopianism, the belief that ideals can be achieved, has informed much urban planning and inspired the foundation of alternative communities ( see commune ). Further reading Harvey, D. (2000), Spaces of Hope...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015

... An imagined form of ideal or superior (usually communistic) human society; or a written work of fiction or philosophical speculation describing such a society. Utopias may be distinguished from mythological Golden Ages or religious paradises in that they are the products of human (i.e. political) arrangement for human benefit. The word was coined by Sir Thomas More in his Latin work Utopia ( 1516 ), as a pun on two Greek words, eutopos (‘good place’) and outopos (‘no place’). More’s account of an ideal commonwealth was followed by several others...

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A Dictionary of Sports Studies

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2010
Subject:
Social sciences, Society and culture
Length:
293 words

... From the Greek for ‘not-place’, utopia as a term was invented by Sir Thomas More in his Utopia , first published in 1516 . More's Utopians considered sports such as hunting as ‘below the dignity of free men’, as ‘the vilest department of butchery’. Hundreds of so-called pleasures, for Utopians, actually have nothing to do with real pleasure, or enjoyment; they are ‘stupid pleasures’, far removed from the ‘real pleasures’ of a mental and physical kind. Utopia is used by More as a satirical device whereby the customs of his own day might be ridiculed. In...

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The Oxford Dictionary of Science Fiction

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2007

...respects the adventure utopias with hackneyed plots of hair-raising captures and rescues are not distinguishable from the flood of escapist literature. 1993 B. Stableford J. Clute & P. Nicholls Ency. of SF (1995) 1260/2 In many of the classic UK utopias of the 19th century there is a strong vein of antiscientific romanticism. Lord Lytton’s The Coming Race ( 1870 ) is more occult romance than progressive utopia. 2003 B. Attebery Mag. Era: 1926–1960 E. James & F. Mendlesohn Cambridge Companion to SF 42 Part utopia, part comic variation of...

Utopia

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Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable (19 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013

... A name for ‘Nowhere’, from Greek ou , ‘not’, and topos , ‘place’. It was given by Sir Thomas More to the imaginary island in his political romance of the same name ( 1516 ), where everything, including laws, morals and politics, is perfect, and in which the evils of existing laws and the like are shown by contrast. Hence ‘Utopian’ is applied to any idealistic but impractical scheme. See also ideal commonwealths . The opposite of a Utopia is a ‘dystopia’, an imaginary world which is much worse than our own. See also subtopia...

Utopia

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Oxford Companion to Australian Politics

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2008
Subject:
Social sciences, Politics
Length:
1,014 words

... In 1516 Thomas More coined the word ‘utopia’ to refer to a good place that is no place. Within fifty years the word became a synonym for mockery. ‘Utopia’ is the effort to realise—in the words of theory or in the practice of a community—a perfected life, all at once and according to a plan. Utopia is a human thing made by wit and will, not by divine or natural gift, in contrast with the self-styled ‘practical people’ and the rugged individualist depicted by Ayn Rand . When European exploration reached the South Seas, Australia excited interest, and...

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The Concise Oxford Companion to English Literature (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2013
Subject:
Literature
Length:
248 words

... The principal literary work of Sir Thomas More , an essay in two books, originally written in Latin and published in 1516 at Louvain: Erasmus supervised its printing. The first book describes the current condition of England, implicitly contrasting it in Book II with the account of ‘Utopia’, ‘Nowhere land’, described by Raphael Hythloday , whom More says he met at Antwerp. The Utopians practise a form of communism, extending a national system of education to men and women alike, and allowing the freest toleration of religion: they have only recently...

Utopia

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A. S. Hargreaves

The Oxford Companion to British History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
104 words

... . Politico-philosophic work by Thomas More ( 1516 ), initiating a literary genre. Steeped in literary humanism , More sought for the best form of government through discussions with the fictitious Raphael Hythloday , addressing problems of counsel (from both monarchal and advisory viewpoints) and social concerns such as theft, before expanding into a more general analysis of Tudor England. This is followed by Hythloday’s account of the ‘New Island of Utopia’ (‘No-place’), but its egalitarian commonwealth appears flawed since, despite religious freedom...

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Dictionary of the Social Sciences

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2002
Subject:
Social sciences
Length:
356 words

... From the Greek words utopos (“no place”) and eutopia (“good place”). A utopia is an ideal society free of the defects of existing societies. The description of utopias has been a classic mode of reflection on politics and society, dating back to the ideal republic developed by Plato . Utopias have often been imaginatively put forward as a way of criticizing contemporary society. Sir Thomas More was a pioneer in this genre, offering in Utopia ( 1516 ) an imaginary island society where social, political, and economic arrangements were founded on...

Utopia

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Alexander Kazhdan

The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
History, Early history (500 CE to 1500)
Length:
484 words

...utopia of the palace or monastery and everyday reality. The concept of political utopia was employed as a means of propaganda; thus Claudian predicted Stilicho 's prosperous rule, and Andronikos I Komnenos claimed that he had brought the golden age of justice on earth: his portrait showed him as “the laborers' king,” and Niketas Choniates (Nik.Chon. 325.17–36) preserved the traces of a contemporary pamphlet whose author, using biblical citations (e.g., Mic 4:4), depicted the perfect life of satisfied subjects under his reign. On the other hand, utopia...

Utopia

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Sean Cubitt

Encyclopedia of Aesthetics (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2014
Subject:
Art & Architecture, Philosophy
Length:
3,308 words

...There is, however, another possibility, one associated with the most influential philosopher of utopia, the twentieth-century German thinker Ernst Bloch. Bloch traces a detailed history of utopia as wish-fulfillment, as a component of religious belief, as a technological ideal, and as a political goal. Central to his theorization of utopia is the concept of the not-yet. According to Bloch, the crucial feature of utopia is not its unreality but its proximity. Utopias cast as plans for ideally well-organized societies are no longer truly utopian, because they...

Utopia

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The Oxford Companion to English Literature (7 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2009
Subject:
Literature
Length:
295 words

... The principal literary work of Sir Thomas More , is an essay in two books, originally written in Latin and published in 1516 at Louvain: Erasmus supervised its printing. The form was influenced by such contemporary narratives of voyages as the accounts of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci ( 1454–1512 ), printed 1507 . The first book describes the current condition of England, implicitly contrasting it in Book II with the account of ‘Utopia’, ‘Nowhere land’, described by Raphael Hythloday , whom More says he met at Antwerp. The Utopians practise a...

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A Dictionary of Sociology (4 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
Social sciences, Sociology
Length:
731 words

... ( utopianism ) A utopia is an imaginative account of a perfect society or ideal commonwealth. The term, which is often used derogatively to mean unrealistic, is derived from Sir Thomas More 's Utopia (1516) . Many literary sources have explored the ideas of utopian and dystopian communities, ranging from William Morris’s News From Nowhere , through George Orwell’s 1984 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World , to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale . Auguste Comte saw social reconstruction as involving scientifically guided change in utopian...

Utopia

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Thomas Lawrence LONG

Berkshire Encyclopedia of World History (2 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2016
Subject:
History
Length:
1,736 words

...Utopia The word utopia , coined by Thomas More ( 1478–1535 ) in his political fantasy of the same name, literally means “nowhere” (from the Greek ou = no, topos = place)—which of course raises the question of whether More believed such a place could even exist—but has come to be applied to any fictional or actual community based on social and political idealism. Utopias have been portrayed in literature and in philosophical treatises, and humans have experimented in creating them throughout history. Literary Utopias A frequently documented fantasy...

Utopia

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The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2005
Subject:
Literature
Length:
395 words

... . The model for descriptions of the ideal state has always been Plato's Republic , but for the fictional version, the report of a far‐off country, perfectly organized and happy, the pioneer was More ( Utopia , 1516 ). He was inspired (like many imitators throughout Europe) by the first tales of exploration. In France (neglecting an isolated effort in 1616 , the anonymous Huguenot Royaume d'Antangil ), a tradition of Utopian fiction developed during the early Enlightenment . The pattern was fixed in the 1670s by the inventions of Foigny and ...

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A Dictionary of British History (3 ed.)

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2015
Subject:
History, Regional and National History
Length:
67 words

... Politico‐philosophic work by Thomas More ( 1516 ), initiating a literary genre. Steeped in literary humanism , More sought for the best form of government through discussions with the fictitious Raphael Hythloday. This is followed by Hythloday's account of the ‘New Island of Utopia’ (‘Noplace’), but its egalitarian commonwealth appears flawed since, despite religious freedom and absence of hunger and homelessness, personal freedom is...

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