Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Utopias symposium at Reading - 11.07.09

As a literary genre, mode of discourse and tradition of political thought, the utopia has long fascinated students of literature, politics, intellectual history and theology. Being imaginary communities which consider how to live a better life on earth, utopias negotiate such problems as the relationship between the better and the best, the existence of free will, and the possibility of human perfectibility. But their socio-political 'recommendations' are also quite often embedded in multi-layered printed publications in which arms-length narration, topical jokes and fairly systematic irony create extreme interpretative

This one-day symposium at the University of Reading will bring together
scholars of utopian thought and literature from the early modern period
to the nineteenth century to re-examine utopian texts in context. In every case, attention will be focused upon the details of the first edition. Papers will consider utopias from the first utopian fiction in English, Robynson's translation of More's Utopia (1551), to Morris's News from Nowhere (1890), looking at utopian themes and contexts, before a round table and group discussion on the issues raised.

To assure yourself of a place, or for further information, please contact Professor Alan Cromartie,, or Dr Chloƫ Houston,


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