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Title: The early modern utopia, 1516-1650
Author: Houston, Chloe Ruth McNeill.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3582 3793
Awarding Body: Birkbeck (University of London)
Current Institution: Birkbeck (University of London)
Date of Award: 2006
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This thesis charts the development of the utopia from 1516 to 1650, arguing that it changed from an intellectual rejection of the ideal commonwealth to an imagination of desired social reformation. Comprising four chapters, it examines the various models offered by each utopia in its assessment of how to live well, demonstrating how the use of utopia altered over time. Chapter One offers a new reading of Thomas More's Utopia (1516), showing how More undertakes an exercise in ideal-state fiction to insist that the only hope of perfection is beyond the realm of human experience. An appreciation of the text's Augustinianism and anti-monasticism shows More's rejection of the monastery as a model for the ideal earthly society. The second chapter explores how Francis Bacon's New Atlantis (1627) manages the impetus for social change through the portrayal of a micro-utopia, an ideal institution of natural philosophy. Bacon's vision is restricted by his acceptance of social reality, necessitating the defence of natural philosophy from the threats posed to it by society at large. Chapter Three considers three early seventeenth-century utopias: Tommaso Campanella's La Cittä del Sole (1602, printed 1623), Johann Valentin Andreae's Christianopolis (1619) and Jan Amos Comenius's The Labyrinth of the World and the Paradise of the Heart (1623). Asserting that the idealistic optimism of these texts constitutes the classic moment of utopianism, this chapter locates this utopian moment against the drive for intellectual and spiritual reform of the Second Reformation. The fourth chapter examines the reform writings of the circle of thinkers centred around Samuel Hartlib alongside Samuel Gott's Nova Solyma (1648). Placing the development of utopia within its religiopolitical context, this chapter explores the utopia's proliferation beyond its conventional form and evidences the need to consider the utopia as a mode of discourse rather than in generic terms. 3
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available