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Utopia

U·to·pi·a [yoo-toh-pee-uh]

“You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one
.”

john-lennon-imagine

1. an imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More’s Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.
2. an ideal place or state.
3. any visionary system of political or social

from Greek: ou (“not”) + topos (“place”) = no place

A Truly Golden Little Book, No Less Beneficial Than Entertaining,of the Best State of a Republic, and of the New Island Utopia

The first recorded utopian proposal is Plato’s Republic (380BC), the cornerstone of Western philosophy.

VARIETIES:

Ecological utopian society describes new ways in which society should relate to nature.

Economic utopias are based on economics. Most intentional communities attempting to create an economic utopia were formed in response to the harsh economic conditions of the 19th century.

Politics and history: A global utopia of world peace is often seen as one of the possible endings of history.

Religious utopias can be intra-religious or inter-religious. The inter-religious utopia borders on a concept like Polyculturalism and is not deemed possible in the near future or the near-far future. Intra-Religious utopias are based on religious ideals, and are to date those most commonly found in human society. Their members are usually required to follow and believe in the particular religious tradition that established the utopia. Some permit non-believers or non-adherents to take up residence within them; others (such as the Community at Qumran) do not.
Scientific and technological utopias are set in the future, when it is believed that advanced science and technology will allow utopian living standards; for example, the absence of death and suffering; changes in human nature and the human condition.

Feminism: Utopias have been used to explore the ramification of gender being either a societal construct, or a biologically “hard-wired” imperative.

Utopianism: In many cultures, societies, and religions, there is some myth or memory of a distant past when humankind lived in a primitive and simple state, but at the same time one of perfect happiness and fulfillment. In those days, the various myths tell us, there was an instinctive harmony between humanity and nature. People’s needs were few and their desires limited. Both were easily satisfied by the abundance provided by nature. Accordingly, there were no motives whatsoever for war or oppression. Nor was there any need for hard and painful work. Humans were simple and pious, and felt themselves close to the gods. According to one anthropological theory, hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society.

ATTEMPTED UTOPIAS (some successful, some not):

The Shakers (1747-early 1900s)

Pullman, Illinois (1800’s)

Brook Farm (1841)

Fruitlands (1843)

Broadacre City (1932)

Nazi Germany (1934-1945)

Minnesota Experimental City (1960s)

Triton City (1960s)

Jonestown (1974)

WHAT IS THE OPPOSITE OF UTOPIA? DYSTOPIA!

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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia

 

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John Updike

John Updike was an American poet, novelist, short story writer, and critic. He was born on March 18, 1932 & died on January 27, 2009.  His most famous work is the Rabbit series of novels, starting with Rabbit, Run, “which chronicled the life of Harry “Rabbit” Angstrom over the course of several decades, from young adulthood to his death.” He won the Pulitzer Prize for two of those novels, making him one of only three authors to win two Prizes for fiction.

Below is one of my favorite poems by John Updike. Why do I like it? Because it’s about food, of course! I also really like the lines: “It simply begs, Take me; / it cries out, I’m yours.”

FOOD

It is always there,
Man’s real best friend.
It never bites back;
it is already dead.
It never tells us we are lousy lovers
or asks us for interview.
It simply begs, Take me;
it cries out, I’m yours.
Mush me all up, it says;
Whatever is you, is pure.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Poets

 

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Sylvia Plath

American poet Sylvia Plath was born Oct. 27, 1932. Her defining moment occurred when she was 8; her beloved father died. To protect Sylvia & her younger brother, her mother didn’t allow the children to attend the funeral. This lack of closure haunted Sylvia for the rest of her life. While attending Smith College, Plath spent a summer month in New York City, working as an intern at Mademoiselle magazine. At this point, she was already being recognized for her writing. Still, Plath suffered from depression, and upon returning home, tried to kill herself by taking pills and hiding in the crawl space under her mother’s house. She was found, barely alive, 3 days later. Shock therapy treatments followed. This experience is narrator in her only novel, The Bell Jar.

Plath married British poet Ted Hughes & the couple moved to England. They had two children. However, their marriage was strained. After Plath discovered that her husband was having an affair, she left him.  During the winter of 1962-1963, Plath again suffered from serious depression. She ended up killing herself on Feb. 11, 1963. She was 30 years old.

Lady Lazarus
You can hear Plath reading the poem HERE.
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it--

A sort of walking miracle, my skin
Bright as a Nazi lampshade,
My right foot

A paperweight,
My face a featureless, fine
Jew linen.

Peel off the napkin
O my enemy.
Do I terrify?--

The nose, the eye pits, the full set of teeth?
The sour breath
Will vanish in a day.

Soon, soon the flesh
The grave cave ate will be
At home on me

And I a smiling woman.
I am only thirty.
And like the cat I have nine times to die.

This is Number Three.
What a trash
To annihilate each decade.

What a million filaments.
The peanut-crunching crowd
Shoves in to see

Them unwrap me hand and foot--
The big strip tease.
Gentlemen, ladies

These are my hands
My knees.
I may be skin and bone,

Nevertheless, I am the same, identical woman.
The first time it happened I was ten.
It was an accident.

The second time I meant
To last it out and not come back at all.
I rocked shut

As a seashell.
They had to call and call
And pick the worms off me like sticky pearls.

Dying
Is an art, like everything else.
I do it exceptionally well.

I do it so it feels like hell.
I do it so it feels real.
I guess you could say I've a call.

It's easy enough to do it in a cell.
It's easy enough to do it and stay put.
It's the theatrical

Comeback in broad day
To the same place, the same face, the same brute
Amused shout:

'A miracle!'
That knocks me out.
There is a charge

For the eyeing of my scars, there is a charge
For the hearing of my heart--
It really goes.

And there is a charge, a very large charge
For a word or a touch
Or a bit of blood

Or a piece of my hair or my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

A cake of soap, 
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

(23-29 October 1962)

I’ve always been drawn to Plath’s use of language & imagery, particularly the last stanza of “Lady Lazarus.” Overall, this poem, like most of her “confessional” poetry, is raw and personal. You can feel her pain–and her genius–through her words. You can hear her reading more of her poems HERE.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2011 in Poets

 

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Welcome to our class blog!

I’m excited to see what y’all post here. Make it fancy–with pictures & links–but be sure to present accurate & thorough information!  Teach us something! Be careful not to plagiarize, though, and always credit your sources.

Please put your FIRST NAME & LAST INITIAL (if you have a common first name) ONLY as a “tag” on each of your posts. Also, check the category (unit or book title) that best fits your post (your name should not be a category).

~ Ms. Gardner

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2009 in Announcements

 

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