Peter Marks, Fátima Vieira, Jennifer A. Wagner-Lawlor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The introduction makes the case for the significance, diversity, and intellectual vitality of a genre inaugurated by Thomas More's 1516 masterpiece, Utopia. It argues that over the 500-year period since the publication of that work, utopias and dystopias have offered up some of the most incisive and provocative accounts of social shortcomings, thrilling projections of what better (or worse) worlds might be like, and how we can strive to attain or to resist those possible worlds. A section on "The First 500 Years of Utopian and Dystopian Literature" presents a rich overview of developments in the genre from More onward, showing how utopian writers adapted the genre to their time and place while offering immensely creative arguments for new ways of being, or telling critiques of the failings of societies that suggested paths to improvement. The final part of the introduction, "The Next 500 Years of Utopian and Dystopian Literature," begins with a thorough exploration of the unceasing innovations in subject matter and approach at the beginning of this century, considering challenging contemporary works that explore new ways of living and of being, of organizing and innovation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Palgrave Handbook of Utopian and Dystopian Literatures
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030886547
ISBN (Print)9783030886530
StatePublished - Mar 15 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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