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Visions of Utopia

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Visions of Utopia Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

From the sex-free paradise of the Shakers to the worker's paradise of Marx, utopian ideas seem to have two things in common--they all are wonderfully plausible at the start and they all end up as disasters. In Visions of Utopia, three leading cultural critics--Edward Rothstein, Martin Marty, and Herbert Muschamp--look at the history of utopian thinking, exploring why they fail and why they are still worth pursuing.

Rothstein contends that every utopia is really a dystopia-- one that overlooks the nature of humanity and the impossibilities of paradise. He traces the ideal in politics and technology and suggests that only in art--and especially in music--does the desire for utopia find satisfaction. Marty examines several models of utopia--from Thomas More's to a 1960s experimental city that he helped to plan--to show that, even though utopias can never be realized, we should not be too quick to condemn them. They can express dimensions of the human spirit that might otherwise be stifled and can plant ideas that may germinate in more realistic and practical soil. Muschamp looks at Utopianism as exemplified in two different ways: the Buddhist tradition and the work of visionary Viennese architect Adolph Loos.

Utopian thinking embodies humanity's noblest impulses, yet it can lead to horrors such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Regime. In Visions of Utopia, these leading thinkers offer an intriguing look at the paradoxes of paradise.

Synopsis:

From the sex-free paradise of the Shakers to the worker's paradise of Marx, utopian ideas seem to have two things in common--they all are wonderfully plausible at the start and they all end up as disasters. In Visions of Utopia, three leading cultural critics--Edward Rothstein, Martin Marty, and Herbert Muschamp--look at the history of utopian thinking, exploring why they fail and why they are still worth pursuing. Edward Rothstein, New York Times cultural critic, contends that every utopia is really a dystopia--a disaster in the making--one that overlooks the nature of humanity and the impossibilities of paradise.

About the Author

Edward Rothstein is Cultural Critic at Large for The New York Times. He has been Chief Music Critic of the Times, music critic for The New Republic, and has written on a wide variety of subjects for Commentary, The New York Review of Books and other publications. He is the author of Emblems of Mind: The Inner Life of Music and Mathematics.

Martin Marty is Fairfax M. Cone Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University of Chicago. The most respected religious historian in America, he has written over fifty books, was a senior editor of The Christian Century, and has won many awards, including the National Book Award and the National Humanities Medal.

Herbert Muschamp is Architecture Critic for The New York Times. He is the author of Man About Town: Frank Lloyd Wright in New York City.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195171617
Author:
Muschamp, Herbert
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Author:
null, Herbert
Author:
Rothstein, Edward
Author:
null, Edward
Author:
null, Martin E.
Author:
Marty, Martin E.
Subject:
Modern - General
Subject:
History, Other | Cultural History
Subject:
Politics - General
Series:
New York Public Library Lectures in Humanities
Series Volume:
Volume III: Mansfiel
Publication Date:
20040331
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
early 19th c. plates
Pages:
112
Dimensions:
5.100 x 7.800 in 0.313 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Utopia
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » 1650 to Present
Languages » ESL » General
Religion » Comparative Religion » General

Visions of Utopia New Trade Paper
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Product details 112 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195171617 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , From the sex-free paradise of the Shakers to the worker's paradise of Marx, utopian ideas seem to have two things in common--they all are wonderfully plausible at the start and they all end up as disasters. In Visions of Utopia, three leading cultural critics--Edward Rothstein, Martin Marty, and Herbert Muschamp--look at the history of utopian thinking, exploring why they fail and why they are still worth pursuing. Edward Rothstein, New York Times cultural critic, contends that every utopia is really a dystopia--a disaster in the making--one that overlooks the nature of humanity and the impossibilities of paradise.
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