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The Utopia Reader

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  71 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Utopian literature has given voice to the hopes and fears of the human race from its earliest days to the present. The only single-volume anthology of its kind, The Utopia Reader encompasses the entire spectrum and history of utopian writing-from the Old Testament and Plato's Republic, to Sir Thomas More's Utopia and George Orwell's twentieth century dystopia, Nineteen Eig ...more
Paperback, 434 pages
Published November 1st 1999 by New York University Press (first published 1999)
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Slick presentation of the long history of the utopian subgenre, including much ancient & medieval selections. Loses focus in the 20th century, which is more devoted to the mass production of multiple dystopias, usually in the service of cold war politics.

Used it for an undergraduate course, and it thoroughly annoyed the students, especially since the early selections are expressly religious, which offended the teabaggers who somehow made it into college. So, that's a plus.
Susan Marie
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Excellent introduction to some of the finest Utopian literature. These were written in times when our world was a desirable one so the stories are quite interesting to read. Gives you quite a bit to think about.
Mary Overton
From Biblical Eden to Ursula LeGuin's Odon, with all sorts of paradises in between -- Ovid's Golden Age, where untilled earth produces corn, milk arrives in rivers, and honey drips from the holmoak tree. Prester John's magic spring which allows a man to remain age 32 however long he might live. The land of Cockaigne where the jolly people drink only wine because "Water serveth there no thing/ but for sight and for washing." Thomas More's UTOPIA (which started the Utopian genre) where "none of th ...more
May 22, 2013 rated it liked it
I had to read this for a recent course on Utopian theory in literature. It was a nice anthology of excerpts of collected utopian and dystopian works throughout the centuries. I have to admit that the early chapters with excerpts from Plato's Republic and Sir Thomas More's Utopia were yawn-inducing. However, the reading became interesting once we started reading about early utopian societies in America and also excerpts from Gulliver's Travels. I'm glad that my professor also chose to implement o ...more
Terri Lynn
Slow,plodding and dull- I had to read it for a graduate seminar and struggled to stay awake. This covers different ideas about what a utopia should be from ancient times to the 20th century. I have a hard time thinking of any of them being my idea of a utopia but if you are a sexist, racist, homophobic white guy, you would love it. Or at least most of it.
Marlana Portolano
Aug 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
I use this book when I teach my college world lit class on utopias and dystopias in Western lit. It's a good introduction to the subject through very short excerpts, but don't expect to find whole works here.
Nov 03, 2008 rated it liked it
But what I want to know is: Where is my damn utopia?!?
Jun 07, 2013 rated it liked it
Best I've come across
Nov 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: utopia-dystopia
A great anthology of utopian texts from the classical period onwards.
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Read part of the book for a class, but I had already bought it. I finished reading the anthology after the class. I did enjoy the various utopian ideas!
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