Utopias and Utopianism - Research Article from Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Utopias and Utopianism

The word utopia was invented by Thomas More, who published his famous Utopia (in Latin) in 1516. More coupled the Greek words ou (no, or not) and topos (place) to invent a name that has since passed into nearly universal currency. Further verbal play shows the close relation between utopia and eutopia, which means "the good [or happy] place." Through the succeeding centuries this double aspect has marked the core of utopian literature, which has employed the imaginary to project the ideal. (This is not to deny that More's own attitude towards the ideal society he imagined may well have been ambivalent.)

The words utopia and utopian, however, have been put to many uses besides the one suggested by More's book. Common to all uses is reference to either the imaginary or the ideal, or to both. But sometimes...

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This section contains 4,409 words
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Utopias and Utopianism from Macmillan. Copyright © 2001-2006 by Macmillan Reference USA, an imprint of the Gale Group. All rights reserved.