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The A to Z of Utopianismby James Morris
Synopses & Reviews
This reference contains more than 600 cross-referenced dictionary entries on utopian thought and experimentation that span the centuries from ancient times to the present. The text not only covers utopian communities worldwide, but also its ideas from the well known such as those expounded in Thomas More's Utopia and the ideas of philosophers and reformers from ancient times, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and from notable 20th-century figures. Included are the descriptions of utopian experiments attempted in the United Sates, like those of the Shakers, Oneida, Robert Owen, and the Fourierists, and elsewhere throughout the world from Europe to Australia, Latin America, and the Far East. Major utopian literary works and their literary counterparts and dystopian novels are also profiled because these have fueled the fires of time-honored arguments about the feasibility of creating a perfect society. From the early theoreticians and thinkers who proposed republican, democratic, and authoritarian innovations; to those who sought equality of classes, races, and genders; to those who insisted on hierarchy under a supreme leader, or god; and to those who had more practical economic, social, and ethical plans, this reference enables the reader to explore the Western mind's desire to improve the world and the lives of the people within it as utopianism has persisted over the centuries.
Book News Annotation:
The Historical Dictionaries of Religions, Philosophies, and Movements series is being reissued in paper cover under the new titles for both the series and the individual volumes. In what was the Historical Dictionary of Utopianism, Morris (emeritus history, Christopher Newport U., Virginia) and freelance writer Kross set out the theories and concepts underlying the notion of ideal times and places very different from existing reality, and some examples of its expression through Western culture since the classical Greeks. Articles averaging a little under a page in length describe such aspects as Brook Farm in 19th-century Massachusetts, Heaven's Gate community founded in 1970 and ended in mass suicide in 1997, William Morris' 1891 romantic utopian novel , and utopian socialism. A list of known utopian communities is appended. There is no index. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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