Searching for Utopia: The History of an Idea

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9780500251744: Searching for Utopia: The History of an Idea
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An illustrated history of a perennially powerful idea: the quest for the ideal society from classical times to the present day.

Aspirations for a better―even a perfect―society have existed throughout history. Utopias have been imagined in intricate detail by, among others, philosophers, poets, social reformers, architects, and artists.

Gregory Claeys, a leading scholar in the field, surveys the influence of the idea of utopia on history, literature, art, architecture, and religious and political thought. 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 Asia, Africa, the Arab world, and the Americas, as well as the ancient and Western worlds. Complete with a wealth of photographs, paintings, engravings, maps, documents, posters, and film stills, as well as comprehensive notes and a bibliography, this volume is a compelling and insightful exploration of the rich diversity of the utopian imagination. 141 color and 65 black-and-white illustrations

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About the Author:

Gregory Claeys is Professor of the History of Political Thought at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has written and edited numerous books, including Searching for Utopia, The Utopia Reader, and The Cambridge Companion to Utopian Literature.

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