The Last Utopians

Michael Robertson


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Princeton University Press
28 April 2020
ISBN: 9780691202860
336 pages

From the publisher

The entertaining story of four utopian writers-Edward Bellamy, William Morris, Edward Carpenter, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman-and their continuing influence today

In this lively literary history, Michael Robertson introduces readers to a vital strain of utopianism that seized the imaginations of four American and British writers during an extraordinary period of literary and social experiment. The publication of Edward Bellamy's Looking Backward in 1888 opened the floodgates to an unprecedented wave of utopian writing. William Morris, the Arts and Crafts pioneer, was a committed socialist whose News from Nowhere envisions a workers' Arcadia. Edward Carpenter boldly argued that homosexuals constitute a utopian vanguard. Charlotte Perkins Gilman, a women's rights activist and the author of "The Yellow Wallpaper," wrote numerous utopian fictions, including Herland, a visionary tale of an all-female society. These writers believed in radical gender and class equality, envisioning new forms of familial and romantic relationships, and were committed to living a simple life rooted in a restored natural world. And their legacy remains with us today, from Occupy Wall Street to the Radical Faeries.