Utopian Writers Of The 17th Term Paper

Length: 20 pages Sources: 10 Subject: Literature Type: Term Paper Paper: #5368794 Related Topics: Qing Dynasty, Puritans, Boston Massacre, Big Black Good Man
Excerpt from Term Paper :

" In other words to understand any writer's utopian vision, one must compare and contrast that particular vision to what utopian authors in the classic traditions have already put forward.


Historian, professor and humorist Jack Hexter wrote that "Utopia implies that the nature of man is such that to rely on individual conscience to supply the deficiencies of municipal law is to embark on the bottom-less sea of human sinfulness in a sieve." Utopians approach conscience with "legal sanctions," Hexter believed. In a "properly ordered society," he asserted, the "massive force of public law performs the function which in natural law theory ineptly is left altogether to a small voice so often still" (Davis 56).


The Buddhism utopia is conceived in the "antithetical images of Heavenly Paradise and Hell" (Wu 1995, p. 24), according to author Qingyun Wu (Female Rule in Chinese and English Literary Utopias). Like the Christian concepts the Buddhist Heaven is a place where good people go as a reward and Hell is a place where "evildoers and sinners" are punished. In Buddhism messianism (philosophy) a "subversive, this-worldly myth of utopia" is invented that "pronounces the end of the world and the salvation of humanity..." (Wu 24). "The time of Maitreye (the future Buddha that Buddhist followers believe will eventually appear on earth to achieve enlightenment) is described as a Golden Age in which kings, ministers and people will vie one with another in maintaining the reign of righteousness and the victory of truth" (Wu 24).

In Daoist utopianism, Wu explains (23), Dao is "the law of nature" and is the model for "perfect individuals and an ideal society." Further, the model rejects civilization as "the root of evil." Daoist utopia is located in one of two places: either in a "hidden mountain valley with a small population" - featuring an extended family structure surviving on "scanty but sufficient sustenance" - or in a remote country. In Tao Yuanming's story, the Peach Blossom Spring, utopians are escaping the war and the "tyranny of the Qing Dynasty." They till the land and thrive in a natural world harmonious existence with little concept of "time or evil" (Wu 24).

Author Wu explains on page 24 that the Confucian version of utopia is much like the city-state utopia in Plato's works. The Confucian utopia did exist at one time in history but due to "social disorder" it vanished, Wu goes on. The future utopian society (according to Confucian thought) will feature the following:

Order, justice, and virtue are essential to this society in which everyone has a place." Officials are chosen based on their merits, not on cronyism. "Men and women, old and young, love each other, and widows, orphans, and the disabled are well taken care of," Wu explains. The Confucian version of utopia is "...the most influential current of utopian thought in China," Wu asserts, because of its "social practicality."


Bacon's New Atlantis is recognized as a classic piece of utopian writing. Critic Max Patrick writes that "Bacon fired the imagination of his readers" and moreover "...roused his countrymen to awareness of the possibilities of co-operative research, applied science, and organized learning" through his New Atlantis project. Clearly, Bacon was aware that his New Atlantis could not be "imitated in all respects," Patrick explains. The geography, isolation and history would not be possible for England to duplicate. But the point of...


"Calm courteousness in human relations" along with careful attention to "religious toleration" and "reverence for the family," along with a careful review of hygiene, are some of the aspects of life in the New Atlantis that certainly did apply to life in England in the 17th Century.

Bacon was visionary. That is perhaps not as well-known among readers of literature as it should be; but in his New Atlantis, Bacon approximates the future invention of submarines, telephones, airplanes and more. If people would life truly Christian lives, Bacon explained through his narrative - which is a kind of investigative journalism depicting a highly functional and practical world that does not seem surrealistic in the least to a reader in 2007 - and keep an open mind about how mankind can interact with nature, they could live lives that are more moral and socially substantial.

What Bacon devoted a lot of energy to in this story is, according to Patrick, is that material things do not necessarily bring happiness and human fulfillment. Science and technological advancement is desirable in New Atlantis, but taking science too far "would warp men's lives and thinking," Patrick writes.

In New Atlantis, Bacon explains that this strange and fascinating world has "large and deep caves" sunk up to 600 fathoms, which are used to produce "new artificial metals" and for curing diseases. Also, these caves prolong life among some of the "hermits that choose to life there" - longer life is always an attractive idea to civilizations in all parts of the world. Those caves are the "lower region" but New Atlantis also has a "higher region" which juts up a half a mile and is used for "insulation, refrigeration, conservation" and for better viewing of meteors, snow, rain, hail and even wind.

Reading through the descriptions of the world that Bacon described in his 1626 "Search the New Atlantis" portion of New Atlantis, a reader can easily see how this could be categorized as utopia in seventeenth century England. For example, New Atlantis has "great lakes" with plenty of fish and fowl and an apparent desalinization technology in "...pools...which some do strain fresh water out of salt, and other by art do turn fresh water into salt." As for the human conveniences, Bacon's world offered "great and spacious houses, where we imitate and demonstrate meteors," and they also had "chambers of health, where we qualify the air as we think good and proper for the cure of divers diseases and preservation of health."

There are "large and various orchards and gardens" in this utopia of Bacon's; yes they respect nature and beauty there, but also they graft and "inoculate" the fruit trees to produce creative results. There are parks where "beasts and birds" thrive; they conduct experiments on the animals including poisons and medicines to make them "greater or smaller" and even more fruitful as well as coloring and shaping them in creative ways. There are also "brew-houses, bake-houses, and kitchens," where meats and breads and drinks are produced. The wines that are produced along with drinks made from fruits, grains, roots, get mixed with honey, sugar, manna and dried fruits.

This is all well and good, but what if people get sick? For that, Bacon offers "dispensatories or shops of medicines" that are obviously more than "you have in Europe (for we know what you have)..." Moreover, this world offers houses where various sounds are experimented, and "harmony, which you have not, of quarter-sounds and lesser slides of sounds." And there are houses that offer perfumes, and in those houses are smells that imitate smells in the natural world.

Let's not forget the mathematical houses, where geometry and astronomy are practiced and experimented with; for anyone who needs to learn juggling, New Atlantis has that as well, along with war toys like muskets and engines that are "stronger and more violent than yours, exceeding your greatest cannons and basilisks."

PURITANISM as UTOPIA: When 16th Century voyagers like Vasco de Quiroga and Franciscan missionary Geronimo de Mendieta made their way to the New World, Holstun continues, they conceptualized the Native Indians as "soft wax" (37). The theory was put forward that those "soft wax" individuals would be easily molded into any new form that the colonists wished for them; hence, the utopian idea here was similar to Socrates' metaphor embracing a slate, or tablet. Roman Catholic men like Quiroga and Mendieta were "possessed by a quasi-Protestant fantasy" of re-writing the history of the church by "...erasing the centuries of intervening corruption" and with utopian intentions these explorers would have a "clean slate and need not find some way to wipe it clean themselves" (Holstun 37).

Meanwhile, in Puritan life - both in England and America - utopia meant taking…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Bacon, Francis. New Atlantis. 1626. Retrieved April 30, 2007, at http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/bacon/atlantis.html.

Bender, Daniel. "Sir. Thomas More." Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 281: British

Rhetoricians and Logicians, 1500-1660, Second Series. Ed. Edward a. Malone. Rolla:

University of Missouri, Gale Group (2003): 201-214.

Cite this Document:

"Utopian Writers Of The 17th" (2007, May 01) Retrieved October 24, 2021, from

"Utopian Writers Of The 17th" 01 May 2007. Web.24 October. 2021. <

"Utopian Writers Of The 17th", 01 May 2007, Accessed.24 October. 2021,

Related Documents
Utopian Socialism This Is the
Words: 1811 Length: 6 Pages Topic: Government Paper #: 3838523

Its Scripture-based tradition holds that a man cannot serve God and wealth at the same time. It strikes a fair balance between present abundance and need. All nationalities and origins become one in Christ Jesus. All believers would sell their possessions and goods for distribution to all according to need (Wienk). On Socialist Political Parties These parties struggle to maintain the socialist ideal and apply it in national life (Wienk 2011).

Idea of Progress During the Enlightenment
Words: 1440 Length: 4 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 77994012

Progress During the Enlightenment The notion of progress is as evolving as the modern society we deem progressive. While some view progress in terms of science and technology, others view progress in terms of government, social equality, economic stability, spirituality and moral sensitivity. In terms of technology, our current society is more technologically advanced than ever before. We can pick up a telephone and speak to loved ones in other cities,

Thomas More's "Utopia": Transcending the
Words: 1561 Length: 5 Pages Topic: Sociology Paper #: 8543039

And so the ache for meaning goes unrelieved." Utopia as a philosophy is also reflected in McMillian's discussion of the nature of this concept in the post-modern society or the society that is information technology-oriented. He asserted that "...utopia doesn't always have to be a particular type of society; it can also be a process, a liberated way of thinking, an exercise in collective self-definition," an argument that presents

Science Fiction & Feminism Sci-Fi & Feminism
Words: 13761 Length: 50 Pages Topic: Mythology Paper #: 33926429

SCIENCE FICTION & FEMINISM Sci-Fi & Feminism Origins & Evolution of Science Fiction As with most things including literature, science fiction has progressed and changed a lot over the years. Many works of science fiction were simply rough copies and following the altready-established patterns of prior authors. However, there has always been authors and creators that push the envelope and forge new questions and storylines that have not been realized or conceptualized before.

Clare of Assisi
Words: 4723 Length: 15 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 64373905

Clare of Assisi Saint Clare of Assisi was not a feminist in the modern sense, but then again no such ideas existed at all in the 13th Century. By all accounts, though, she was a formidable and powerful woman who was the first in history to found a religious order. In the society in which she was born, women were politically, socially and economically powerless, and quite literally the property of

Reading Commentary
Words: 2542 Length: 8 Pages Topic: Mythology - Religion Paper #: 75034196

American Studies - Anthology American Studies -- Anthology: Freedom vs. Tyranny America's history includes a number of competing forces. One of the chief struggles has been the clash between Freedom and Tyranny. As Why Freedom Matters shows, our national consciousness is dominated with the idea that our forefathers risked everything so that all people in America can have freedom. However, Public Speaking shows that the dominant or "luckiest" group in America consists