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Utopian Visions and Revisions

Or the Uses of Ideal Worlds

Artur Blaim

The book focuses on different uses of the concepts of utopia, dystopia, and anti-utopia. The author analyses literature, cinema, and rock music, as well as scientific and legal motifs in utopian fiction. He also considers the functions of Jewish characters in early modern utopias and looks at the utopian aspects of scientific claims of literary and cultural theories. Utopian models are also applied to the practice of literature (socialist realism) and current socio-political affairs. Among the texts and films discussed are "Utopia", "New Atlantis", "Gulliver’s Travels", "Memoirs of Signor Gaudentio di Lucca", "Nineteen Eighty-Four", "A Minor Apocalypse", "Lord of the Flies", and "Even Dwarfs Started Small".

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3. The Question-able Case of The Truly Golden Handbook, No Less Beneficial than Entertaining…


3. The Question-able Case of The Truly Golden Handbook, No Less Beneficial than Entertaining…4

As there is no firm reason to be render’d…

(William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice 5.1)

What is the real title of Utopia? The full Latin title, its English translation, or the shortened version by which the TEXT has been commonly known for centuries? How does each of these titles determine or affect the interpretation of the whole?

Which version of the text constitutes the TEXT of Utopia? The first Latin edition published in Louvain in 1516? The second Latin edition with expanded margin notes and prefatory matter? The first English translation by Ralph Robynson from 1557? The “authoritative” Yale parallel Latin/new English translation edition of 1972 collating the marginalia and prefatory matter from all editions, or a newer, even more accurate edition and/or translation?

Do the margin notes and prefatory matters, known to be authored by More’s friends constitute an integral part of the TEXT? To what extent do they define its meaning(s)? What are the grounds for making the decision as to their (ir)relevance? Does the arbitrariness of that decision justify the arbitrariness of any subsequent interpretation of the adopted version? Should the knowledge of their real authors remove them from the TEXT? What is the borderline between the TEXT and EXTRA-TEXT?

To what extent is the knowledge of earlier and contemporary texts (such as Plato’s Republic or Erasmus’s...

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