Why is Utopia important in literature?

why utopia is important to be studied in literature?


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More's work has left a lasting impact on subsequent political thought and literature. The Greek word Utopia translates as "no place" or "nowhere," but in modern parlance, a Utopia is a good place, an ideal place (eu-topia). The term "utopia" has gained more significance than More's original work. Utopia has inspired a diverse group of political thinkers. The utilitarian philosophy expounded in the late 1700s and early 1800s developed the idea of the ideal and perfect balance of happiness. Jeremy Bentham, a leading Utilitarian thinker, developed ideas of surveillance and the panopticon by which all can be seen. These reformatory practices, designed to quantify happiness, calculate moral goodness and produce the optimal balance, echo the anti-privacy measures inflicted upon the citizens of More's Utopia.

As a literary work, Utopia has retained its power to impact British and American writers. From the Greek prefix dys- (i.e. bad, ill) comes the word "Dystopia," reflecting Utopia's negative qualities. Dickens' novels of industrialized Britain depict planned factory cities gone wrong‹like the city of Coketown in Hard Times. Utopia remains in the backdrop: a desirable alternative but an equally failing effort. Works like George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 are dystopic novels that warn of the false hope of heavily programmed utopias. In 1887, a New England socialist named Edward Bellamy wrote Looking Backward, a novel that glanced into the future, presenting a celebratory image of a Utopian America.

The word Utopia has a double meaning then. In the academic disciplines of architecture and urban planning, leading figures like Lewis Mumford, Le Corbusier, and Frederic Law Olmsted (creator of Central Park) all developed the idea of Utopia in a positive sense. In political theory, however, Utopia has often been interpreted as a most dangerous form of naiveté. The impulse to plan perfection leads to the tyranny of Orwell's "Big Brother."