History

From Utopia to Dystopia

Utopias, and their progenitors, have a rather poor record. Sir Thomas More, who invented the word by cobbling a double negative from Greek words meaning “not” and “no place”, for his 1516 fantasy of an ideal society, ended badly. Henry VIII punished him severely for his canonical stubbornness, but who is to say he may not also have looked askance at More’s socialist leanings? Three hundred years later, the idea of the idealistic society was revived, against the backdrop of Britain’s dark satanic mills. In the last half of the nineteenth century, inspired by Victorian inventions, authors popularised alternative imaginary…

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