Topos in Utopia: A peregrination to early modern utopianism’s space

by Sotirios Triantafyllos

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'Topos in Utopia' examines early modern literary utopias' and intentional communities' social and cultural conception of space. Starting from Thomas More's seminal work, published in 1516, and covering a period of three centuries until the emergence of Enlightenment's euchronia, this work provides a thorough yet concise examination of the way space was imagined and utilised in the early modern visions of a better society. Dealing with an aspect usually ignored by the scholars of early modern utopianism, this book asks us to consider if utopias' imaginary lands are based not only on abstract ideas but also on concrete spaces. Shedding new light on a period where reformation zeal, humanism's optimism, colonialism's greed and a proto-scientific discourse were combined to produce a series of alternative social and political paradigms, this work transports us from the shores of America to the search for the Terra Australis Incognita and the desire to find a new and better world for us.


List of Figures

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: The topos of utopia
Utopia: origins and context
The problem of defining Utopia

Chapter 1 The changing paradigms of the world and the creation of the utopian place
The changing paradigms of the world, travel writing and the utopian place
Mappae mundi and the Christian oecumene
The empty space: sixteenth-century cosmography and geography

Chapter 2 The geography of utopia: occupying strange worlds
Searching for the land of Utopia: Sailing away from the old worlds
Utopia: searching for a different world

Chapter 3 The city of utopia: designing and constructing an ideal topography
The early modern city and the Renaissance ideal city
Constructing the ideal city: applying the new ideas in Europe and the New World
Designing and building the utopian city

Chapter 4 Utopia’s space of practice: the early modern utopian choros
Utopian domestic spaces: the chorographic order and the hortus
Heterotopian choroi: temples, hospitals, and colleges
Constructing the choros of the intentional community

Chapter 5 The southland heterotopia: colonialism, anti-utopianism and the Other
The Antipodes: between satire and anti-utopia
Colonial Heterotopia and Austral Utopia: commercial expansion and cast-away paradises
The settler’s utopia: recreating the homeland

Conclusion: The space of utopia




Sotirios Triantafyllos holds a DPhil in History from the University of Oxford on early modern intellectual history. He has published articles in academic journals and on websites on the topics of early modern utopianism, Cli-Fi, bio-dystopia, and intellectual history.

Early modern utopianism,utopia,history of history,topos and utopia,spatial studies

See also

Bibliographic Information

Book Title
Topos in Utopia: A peregrination to early modern utopianism’s space
Number of pages
Physical size
236mm x 160mm
59 B&W
Publication date
September 2021