Arts & Entertainment

Toby Green’s top 10 utopias and dystopias

An overview of famous utopian/dystopian writings.

By Toby Green, The Guardian

Toby Green is the author of Thomas More’s Magician: A Novel Account of Utopia. The book tells the story of Vasco de Quiroga who, using Thomas More’s Utopia as his blueprint, forged a commune on Mexico City’s outskirts.

1. Republic by Plato

Not always seen as being within the utopian genre, but Plato’s Republic was the first work of world literature to envisage an ideal state, and to lay down concrete parameters as to the activities of each and every class within society.

2. Utopia by Thomas More

Of course! Eponymous founder of the genre; brilliant mixture of satire, political idealism, and obfuscation of the author’s own views. More’s book has been seen by some as an attempt to justify colonisation of the Americas, by others as a dreary state of Catholic dogma and by his champions as a proto-communistic vision. The book’s very indeterminacy is testament to its constant inventiveness.

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