New Worlds Reflected : Travel and Utopia in the Early Modern Period book cover
1st Edition

New Worlds Reflected
Travel and Utopia in the Early Modern Period

Edited By

Chloë Houston

ISBN 9780754666479
Published November 28, 2010 by Routledge
274 Pages

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Book Description

Utopias have long interested scholars of the intellectual and literary history of the early modern period. From the time of Thomas More's Utopia (1516), fictional utopias were indebted to contemporary travel narratives, with which they shared interests in physical and metaphorical journeys, processes of exploration and discovery, encounters with new peoples, and exchange between cultures. Travel writers, too, turned to utopian discourses to describe the new worlds and societies they encountered. Both utopia and travel writing came to involve a process of reflection upon their authors' societies and cultures, as well as representations of new and different worlds. As awareness of early modern encounters with new worlds moves beyond the Atlantic World to consider exploration and travel, piracy and cultural exchange throughout the globe, an assessment of the mutual indebtedness of these genres, as well as an introduction to their development, is needed. New Worlds Reflected provides a significant contribution both to the history of utopian literature and travel, and to the wider cultural and intellectual history of the time, assembling original essays from scholars interested in representations of the globe and new and ideal worlds in the period from the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, and in the imaginative reciprocal responsiveness of utopian and travel writing. Together these essays underline the mutual indebtedness of travel and utopia in the early modern period, and highlight the rich variety of ways in which writers made use of the prospect of new and ideal worlds. New Worlds Reflected showcases new work in the fields of early modern utopian and global studies and will appeal to all scholars interested in such questions.



Chloë Houston, University of Reading, UK


'New Worlds Reflected: Travel and Utopia in the Early Modern Period offers a collection of essays on a fascinating topic that will be of interest to historians of early modern England, early modern literature, and the early modern Atlantic world.' Itinerario 'New Worlds Reflected will reward readers with its refreshing variety and its unique, side-by-side treatment of seventeenth-century travel and utopian writing, both of which were practices intended to expand knowledge and other forms of power, often in strikingly similar ways.' Renaissance Quarterly 'The volume overall is a valuable contribution to critical dialogues on utopias and the vibrant field of travel writing, and will be of interest to scholars from a wide range of disciplines.' Parergon 'Students interested in the cultural and intellectual history of the European early modern period, particularly those interested in the areas of literary and religious studies, would find this a useful volume to consult.' Terrae Incognitae 'Houston’s well-constructed volume is a valuable source for early modern cultural history refracted through one idea (or should it be ideal?): utopianism.' Sixteenth Century Studies 'As a textual site, ’utopianism’ appears to record a lack of joined up thinking, a challenge which this diverse collection, thanks to its considered structure and generous bibliography, meets fortuitously. As an archipelago of essays, this volume reflects the paradoxes found at the heart of utopian travails in highly suggestive ways.' Renaissance Studies