Chapter

The Idea of a Planned World

Simon J. James

in Maps of Utopia

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199606597
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738517 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199606597.003.0004
The Idea of a Planned World

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Wells’s utopian writing articulates his ideas towards the planning of the society of the future at their most explicit. Utopia is a literary genre with a dialectical relationship to reality: Wells keeps writing and rewriting literary utopias until actual utopia is achieved. Even then, utopia is not imagined as a perfect equilibrium, which must continue to evolve in order to renew itself and survive. Wells imagines a World State constructed on scientific, rather than nationalistic, principles, in which every individual is educated and encouraged to specialize and thrive. The utopian desire arises originally from dissatisfaction with the real world, and nothing in society is free from utopian improvement: from architecture to literature, from national identity to dusting, from the width of roads to sexual life. Texts such as The First Men in the Moon and The Food of the Gods hybridize utopia with scientific romance.

Keywords: Utopia; literature and the future; architecture; literature and politics; science fiction; Plato’s Republic

Chapter.  14963 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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