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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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5. Utopia Simplified: Thomas Lupton’s Siuqila15


5. Utopia Simplified: Thomas Lupton’s Siuqila15

“Go on in Gods name,” said he, “for I love to be confirmed.”

(New Atlantis. Continued by R.H. Esq.)

Thomas Lupton’s Siuqila is one of the earliest utopias published in English. It appeared in 1580, almost 30 years after the first edition of the English translation of Thomas More’s Utopia. Unlike its more famous predecessor, Lupton’s work received little critical attention, even though both volumes ran into two editions. It tends to be ignored in most histories of utopias and utopian thought, so that the only references to Siuqila appear in Gibson’s and Sargent’s bibliographies (Gibson 1961 and Sargent 1988). Nevertheless, despite its unimpressive aesthetic quality, Siuqila is an important text which illustrates the process of the simplification of the genre pattern introduced in Utopia that began after the text was translated into English in 1557 and became a part of the vernacular middle-class culture.

Echoes of More reverberate already in the full title of the book which, like the title of Utopia, introduces two opposed points of view of the two interlocutors, but whereas in Utopia the two different points of view implicit in the title were introduced by subtle punning on the name of the island and the disjunction of the best state of commonwealth and the island of Utopia, Lupton makes his point directly by means of the actual dialogue between two characters: Siuqila, Too good, to be true; Omen, Though so at...

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