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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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16. “Nowhere Plans for Nobody.” Visions of Utopia in Popular Music


16. “Nowhere Plans for Nobody.” Visions of Utopia in Popular Music69

I am not so stupid as to have preferred to use those barbarous and meaningless names, Utopia, Anydrus, Amaurotum and Ademus. (Thomas More, Utopia)

As far as can be ascertained, utopia made its first appearance in popular music as part of the name of an obscure doo-wop duo Mike and the Utopians in 1958. Since then, it has often been used not only in group names, but also in album and song titles: All Music Guide lists over 60 groups ranging from straight-forward Utopia to Fragile Utopia, Utopia Judgment, Utopia Banished, Former Utopia, Flux Utopia, Entropical Utopia, Utopia Research, Bleeding Utopia, Utopia Factory, Utopian Hedonism, Utopic Sporadic Orchestra, Banned from Utopia, or Training for Utopia, over 220 albums and more than 4000 songs referring to utopia in their titles.70 Occasionally, as in the case of an Italian jazz pianist Stefano Battaglia, such references become more sophisticated, testifying to some knowledge of the genre, as evident from the album’s title – The River of Anyder (2011) and some of the tracks (“Bensalem,” “Return to Bensalem,” or “Nowhere Song”), even though it would not be easy to semanticise the sounds constituting these compositions, despite the artist’s commentary and quotations from Utopia and New Atlantis included in the enclosed booklet.71 Other examples of jazz musicians’ use of the name Utopia include Stan Getz’s Utopia (1978), Mal Waldron’s Quadrologue at Utopia (1989) (with one of the tracks←187 | 188→ titled...

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