Definitions

The major definitions used throughout the bibliography.

Utopianism

Social dreaming--the dreams and nightmares that concern the ways in which groups of people arrange their lives and which usually envision a radically different society than the one in which the dreamers live.

Utopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space. In standard usage utopia is used both as defined here and as an equivalent for eutopia (below).

Eutopia or positive utopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as considerably better than the society in which that reader lived.

Dystopia or negative utopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as considerably worse than the society in which that reader lived.[1]

Utopian satire

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as a criticism of that contemporary society.

Anti-utopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as a criticism of utopianism or of some particular eutopia.

Critical utopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as better than contemporary society but with difficult problems that the described society may or may not be able to solve. The work also normally takes a critical view of the utopian genre.[2]

Critical dystopia

A non-existent society described in considerable detail and normally located in time and space that the author intended a contemporaneous reader to view as worse than contemporary society but that normally includes at least one eutopian enclave or holds out hope that the dystopia can be overcome and replaced with a eutopia.[3]

Flawed utopia

Works that present what appears to be a good society until the reader learns of some flaw that raises questions about the basis for its claim to be a good society, or even turns it into a dystopia. The flawed utopia tends to invade territory already occupied by the dystopia, the anti-utopia, and the critical utopia and dystopia. The flawed utopia is a sub-type that can exist within any of these sub-genres.[4]

Intentional community

A group of five or more adults and their children, if any, who come from more than one nuclear family and who have chosen to live together to enhance their shared values or for some other mutually agreed upon purpose.[5]

 

[1] The first use of this word is sometimes ascribed to Glenn Negley and J. Max Patrick’s anthology The Quest for Utopia (New York: Henry Schuman, 1952), where they say “The Mundus Alter et Idem is utopia in the sense of nowhere; but it is the opposite of eutopia the ideal society: it is a dystopia, if it is permissible to coin a term” (248), but there were much earlier uses. Deirdre Ni Chuanacháin noted a 1747 use by Henry Lewis Younge in his Utopia or Apollo’s Golden Days (Dublin: Ptd. by George Faulkner) spelled as “dustopia” and used as a clear negative contrast to utopia on pages 4, 6, and 21. The poem was reprinted in The Gentleman’s Magazine and Historical Chronicle 18 (September 1748): 399-402 with the word spelled “Dystopia” on pages 400 and 401 and with a footnote on 400 defining the word as “an unhappy country”. On the contrast between the two versions, see V[esselin] M. Budakov, “Dystopia: An Earlier Eighteenth-Century Use.” Notes and Queries 57.1 (March 2010): 86-88. Before this discovery, the earliest usage appeared to be in 1782. See Patricia Köster, “Dystopia: An Eighteenth Century Appearance.” Notes & Queries 228 (ns 30.1) (February 1983): 65-66 where she says that the first use was in by B[aptist] N[oel] Turner (1739-1826) as dys-topia [first three letters in Greek] in “Letter VIII. On his Disquisition respecting ‘Religious Establishments’” of his Candid Suggestions in Eight Letters to Soame Jenyns, Esq., on the respective Subjects of his Disquisitions, Lately Published, With some remarks on the answerer of his Seventh Disquisition, Respecting the Principles of Mr. Locke (London: Ptd. W. Harrod, 1782), 161-94 with dys-topia on page 170 [Turner was commenting on Soames Jenys (1704-87), Disquisitions on Several Subjects. London: Ptd. for J. Dodsley, 1782]. John Stuart Mill used “dys-topian” in the House of Commons with Hansard 12 March 1868, page 1517, column 1) reporting him saying “I may be permitted, as one who, in common with many of my betters, have been subjected to the charge of being Utopian, to congratulate the Government on having joined that goodly company. It is, perhaps, too complimentary to call them Utopians, they ought rather to be called dys-topians, or cacotopians. What is commonly called Utopian is something too good to be practicable, but what they appear to favour is too bad to be practicable.” Cacotopia as a direct contrast to utopia was first used by  [Thomas Berington] in News from the Dead: or, The Monthly Packet Of True Intelligence from the Other World. By Mercury [pseud.]. 3rd ed. London: Ptd. for W. Needham, 1756. There are two earlier eds. online. First ed. is 1714-15 originally published in eight monthly parts. See Parts II, II, V (1715). Cackotopia appears in Part III, in the section dated March 14 to March 21, pages 17-29. Editions of 1719 and 1756 followed. Cackotopia was then used by Jeremy Bentham in 1817 with revisions in the 1818 edition in his Plan of Parliamentary Reform, in the Form of a Catechism. In The Works of Jeremy Bentham. Ed John Bowring (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1843), 3: 493. On cacatopia, see V[esselin] M. Budakov, “Cacatopia: An Eighteenth Century Appearance in Fews From the Dead (1715).” Notes and Queries 256.3 (September 2011): 391-94.

[2] The term was originated by Tom Moylan in his Demand the Impossible: Science Fiction and the Utopian Imagination. London: Methuen, 1986.

[3] The critical dystopia originated in the work of Raffaella Baccolini and Tom Moylan. See Baccolini, “Gender and Genre in the Feminist Critical Dystopias of Katharine Burdekin, Margaret Atwood, and Octavia Butler.” Future Females, The Next Generation: New Voices and Velocities in Feminist Science Fiction Criticism. Ed. Marleen S. Barr (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2000), 13-34; Moylan, Scraps of the Untainted Sky: Science Fiction, Utopia, Dystopia. Boulder, CO: Westview, 2000; and Baccolini and Moylan, “Conclusion: Critical Dystopias and Possibilities.” Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination. Ed. Raffaella Baccolini and Tom Moylan (London: Routledge, 2003), 233-49.

[4] See my “The Problem of the ‘Flawed Utopia’: A Note on the Costs of Utopia.” Dark Horizons: Science Fiction and the Dystopian Imagination. Ed. Raffaella Baccolini and Tom Moylan (London: Routledge, 2003), 225-31.

[5] The term was in use in early 1940s; see “To the Post-War World Intentional Community Offers a Social Unit for the Good Life.” The Communiteer: The Newsletter of the Rural Cooperative Community Conference (New City, NY), no. 11 (May 1945): 1-2.