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Since the publication of Thomas More's genre-defining work Utopia in 1516, the field of utopian literature has evolved into an ever-expanding domain. This Companion presents an extensive historical survey of the development of utopianism, from the publication of Utopia to today's dark and despairing tendency towards dystopian pessimism, epitomised by works such as George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale. Chapters address the difficult definition of the concept of utopia, and consider its relation to science fiction and other literary genres. The volume takes an innovative approach to the major themes predominating within the utopian and dystopian literary tradition, including feminism, romance and ecology, and explores in detail the vexed question of the purportedly 'western' nature of the concept of utopia. The reader is provided with a balanced overview of the evolution and current state of a long-standing, rich tradition of historical, political and literary scholarship.
Imperial Sceptics provides a highly original analysis of the emergence of opposition to the British Empire from 1850-1920. Departing from existing accounts, which have focused upon the Boer War and the writings of John Hobson, Gregory Claeys proposes a new chronology for the contours of resistance to imperial expansion. Claeys locates the impetus for such opposition in the late 1850s with the British followers of Auguste Comte. Tracing critical strands of anti-imperial thought through to the First World War, Claeys then scrutinises the full spectrum of socialist writings from the early 1880s onwards, revealing a fundamental division over whether a new conception of 'socialist imperialism' could appeal to the electorate and satisfy economic demands. Based upon extensive archival research, and utilising rare printed sources, Imperial Sceptics will prove a major contribution to our understanding of nineteenth-century political thought, shedding new light on theories of nationalism, patriotism, the state and religion.
Many discussions of J. S. Mill's concept of liberty focus too narrowly on On Liberty and fail to acknowledge that his treatment of related issues elsewhere may modify its leading doctrines. Mill and Paternalism demonstrates how a contextual reading suggests that in Principles of Political Economy, and also his writings on Ireland, India and on domestic issues like land reform, Mill proposed a substantially more interventionist account of the state than On Liberty seems to imply. This helps to explain Mill's sympathies for socialism after 1848, as well as his Malthusianism and feminism, which, in conjunction with Harriet Taylor's views, are central to his later discussions of the family and marriage. Feminism, indeed, is shown to provide the answer to the problem which most agitated Mill, overpopulation. Thus Gregory Claeys sheds new lights on many of Mill's overarching preoccupations, including the theory of liberty at the heart of On Liberty.
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 Eighty-Four, through to the present day. The editors of this definitive collection demonstrate the various ways in which utopias have been used throughout history as veiled criticism of existing conditions and how peoples excluded from the dominant discourse-such as women and minorities-have used the form to imagine empowering alternatives to present circumstances. An engaging tour through the dissident, polemic, and satirical tradition of utopian writing,The Utopia Reader ultimately provides a telling portrait of civilization's persistent need to imagine and construct ideal societies.
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