Searching for Utopia

Searching for Utopia

The History of an Idea

  1. Gregory Claeys
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  • ISBN 9780500251744
  • 24.40 x 18.80 cm
  • Hardback
  • 224pp
  • 206 Illustrations, 141 in colour
  • First published 2011
‘Unquestionably the best-illustrated book ever published on the history of utopianism’ – History Today
'Lavishly produced … wide-ranging'– The Daily Mail
'A compelling exploration of the rich diversity of the utopian imagination' – The Historical Association

An illustrated history of a perennially powerful idea: the quest for the ideal society

Aspirations for a better – even a perfect – society have existed throughout history, often imagined in intricate detail by philosophers, poets, social reformers, architects and artists.

Gregory Claeys surveys the influence of the idea of Utopia on history. 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 the West as well as American, Asian, African and the Arab worlds.

This volume is a compelling and insightful exploration of the rich diversity of the utopian imagination. From classical times to the present day, it traces the enduring human need to imagine and construct ideal worlds.

• Photographs, paintings, engravings, maps, documents, posters and film stills
• Comprehensive notes and bibliography

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