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Title: British and American socialist utopian literature, 1888-1900
Author: Evans , Peter William Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 5920 6513
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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This dissertation studies socialist utopian literature published in Britain and America from 1888-1900. The central thesis is that they shared an underlying theoretical basis regarding how they were imagined to function, and why. Details obviously varied, but these texts shared a common structure which can be defined in terms of five interrelated themes: economics; ethics; environment; education; and evolution. These socialist utopias embodied a certain set of relations between these themes. Planned cooperative economies would be founded upon a socialist ethic inculcated by education and the environment, and the whole was posited as the product of historical evolution. These interrelated aspects were seen as the necessary foundations that would enable a socialist utopia - a united, harmonious society, characterised by association, community, and cooperation. This would convert society into a "community of interests", and an "administration of things", enabling collective democratic control of a socialist economy. This pattern can be found across the literature, underlying various strands of contemporary socialism and internal splits dividing the ideology. The most prominent of these, as manifested in utopian literature, was between state socialism and communitarian or libertarian socialist approaches. This divide is best encapsulated in the two most-famous examples, represented by Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward and William Morris' News from Nowhere respectively, which dominate existing secondary accounts. However, the differences between these two strands were not as great as often supposed. These complex issues have been approached through the prism of the key figure of Bellamy, and five of his respondents who are essentially unstudied. This is both because of the size of the literature (around 50 texts), but also Bellamy's overwhelming significance in existing secondary accounts, and to his contemporaries. Morris however is considered mainly as a touching-point in relation to other texts, there being little to add to existing accounts.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available