Catalogue


Utopias and Utopians : an historical dictionary /
Richard C.S. Trahair.
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
description
xvi, 480 p. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0313294658 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, 1999.
isbn
0313294658 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
3201219
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2000-01-01:
Trahair provides concise descriptions of utopian ventures and brief biographical sketches of individuals undertaking them. The nearly 620 entries are generally 200-300 words in length and end with brief bibliographies. Utopian experiments in the US predominate, yet coverage is worldwide from Africa and Arabia to Switzerland, Thailand, and Wales. The compiler (social research advisor and consulting psychologist, LaTrobe Univ., Australia) imparts the basic characteristics of utopias: that humankind's aim is to realize its capabilities; that this is best achieved in a society; that humankind can realize its potential on collectively owned property; that all work for a community should be done by its members. The entries call attention to the factors contributing to the inability of most experiments to achieve or sustain these aims and to the questions utopias raise about the experience of making the world a better place, including concepts of equality, justice, the promotion of hopeful and imaginative visions, what is necessary for a "better" place, and how one person's utopia can be another's dystopia. As Trahair's introduction suggests, the dictionary shows some surprising omissions and includes some "eccentric choices." The entries, subjective rather than factual, omit Chautauqua and its movement; Methodist vacation communities such as Ocean Grove, NJ; international fairs such as the World's Columbian Exposition. This socially oriented dictionary supplements, e.g., Mary Ellen Snodgrass's Encyclopedia of Utopian Literature (CH, Nov'95) and Lyman Tower Sargent's bibliography British and American Utopian Literature: 1516-1985 (CH, Oct'88), and expands and updates Robert S. Fogarty's Dictionary of American Communal and Utopian History (CH, Dec'80). Recommended for libraries collecting utopian literature and thought, or for undergraduate collections that lack a quick reference source. J. A. Adams-Volpe; SUNY at Buffalo
Reviews
Review Quotes
'œRecommended for libraries collecting utopian literature and thought....'' Choice
"Recommended for libraries collecting utopian literature and thought...."- Choice
"...this dictionary is useful for its provision of brief focused overviews of major topics in the field and for its concise gathering of secondary materials on those topics."- Science Fiction Studies
'œUtopias and Utopians provides just the right mix of history and fantasy to lead readers to genuine utopias.'' American Reference Books Annual
"Utopias and Utopians provides just the right mix of history and fantasy to lead readers to genuine utopias."- American Reference Books Annual
'œThis dictionary covers utopian ventures and the people who undertook them...and includes a wide range from religions, communes, and worker's settlements to architecture, conservation, national policies, novels, suicide cults, and "wildly unrealistic schemes." The scope is worldwide and throughout history...There are about 620 entries, most from one-half to one page in length, giving a summary of pertinent information and highlighting the utopian connection...An extensive general bibliography completes the book...Utopias and Utopians is an interesting book that belongs in academic and large public libraries. com.'' Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin
'œ...this dictionary is useful for its provision of brief focused overviews of major topics in the field and for its concise gathering of secondary materials on those topics.'' Science Fiction Studies
"This dictionary covers utopian ventures and the people who undertook them...and includes a wide range from religions, communes, and worker's settlements to architecture, conservation, national policies, novels, suicide cults, and "wildly unrealistic schemes." The scope is worldwide and throughout history...There are about 620 entries, most from one-half to one page in length, giving a summary of pertinent information and highlighting the utopian connection...An extensive general bibliography completes the book...Utopias and Utopians is an interesting book that belongs in academic and large public libraries. com."- Booklist/Reference Books Bulletin
'œBoth academic and public libraries should be sure to get the book, and I think many scholars would want it on their shelves.'' Utopian Studies
"Both academic and public libraries should be sure to get the book, and I think many scholars would want it on their shelves."- Utopian Studies
This item was reviewed in:
Booklist, November 1999
Choice, January 2000
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Unpaid Annotation
More than 600 entries describe utopian ventures and the lives of utopians from antiquity to the present.
Unpaid Annotation
This reference provides more than 600 alphabetically arranged entries about utopian communities and their founders. The entries draw on a wide range of institutions: from abodes of love to conservation groups; from hippie communes and fantastic entertainments to caravans and residential settlements; from garden cities to children's schools; from business schemes to spiritual encampments; from religious communities to unrealizable schemes. Entries were chosen for their illustrative value and origin and represent utopian thought around the world. Also included are several classical and modern literary utopias, which serve as a guide or justification of utopian ventures. Entries provide bibliographic information, and the volume closes with a selected, general bibliography.
Long Description
The concept of utopia is generally attributed to Thomas More, whose fictional work, Utopia (1516), presents a place that is at once ideal and imaginary. The term means both a good place and no place, and More's work has inspired numerous political philosophers, religious leaders, and literary figures for nearly five centuries. Utopian ventures are worth close attention to help understand why some fail and others succeed, and they offer hope for an improved life on earth. This reference book is a comprehensive guide to utopian communities and their founders. While other volumes look at literary utopias or examine utopias in only one country, this work examines utopias from antiquity to the present and surveys utopian efforts around the world. Multidisciplinary in nature, the book draws on anthropology, religion, philosophy, political science, history, sociology, and literature. Included are more than 600 alphabetically arranged entries. Roughly half are short descriptions of utopian ventures and the rest are brief biographical sketches of individuals who were involved. Each entry is followed by a list of sources, and the volume concludes with a selected, general bibliography. The entries draw on a wide range of activities and institutions: from abodes of love to conservation groups; from hippie communes and fantastic entertainments to caravans and residential settlements; from garden cities to children's schools; from business schemes to spiritual encampments; from religious communities to unrealizable schemes. Entries were chosen for their illustrative value and origin and include several dystopias, literary and real, which provide an additional context for the utopian communities.
Table of Contents
Introduction
The Dictionary
Selected Reading
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem