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Utopian Societies in Mythology, Religion, Philosophy, and Literature

Updated on October 7, 2016
Sir Thomas More, author of UTOPIA (1516)
Sir Thomas More, author of UTOPIA (1516)

u·to·pi·a An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect

Utopia comes from the Greek word, “Eutopia,” which means “not place.” Thomas More created an imaginary island in his book Utopia. More’s utopian society had an ideally perfect social, legal, and political system. Since then, many have tried to create actual utopian societies around the world, few of which exist today. Many writers and thinkers have written about utopias and dystopias—utopias gone wrong. Utopian societies generally do not work because humans, who are not perfect, create them.

Dystopias (utopias gone wrong) in literature

Candide by Voltaire

The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

1984 by George Orwell

The Iron Heel by Jack London

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

The Mosquito Coast by Paul Theroux

The Children of Men by P. D. James

Childhood’s End by Arthur Clarke

Erewhon by Samuel Butler

Lost Horizon by James Hilton

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

Harrison Bergeron by Kurt Vonnegut

Player Piano by Kurt Vonnegut

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Utopian societies in religion, myth, and philosophy

The Republic by Plato

The City of God by St. Augustine

Elysium or The Elysian Fields (Greek mythology)

Valhalla (Norse mythology)

The Garden of Eden (Genesis, the Bible)

The Book of Revelation (the Bible)

Heaven (many religions)

Nirvana (Buddhism)

Jannah (Islam)

Paradise (many religions)

Camelot (King Arthur’s realm)

El Dorado (South American “Lost City of Gold”)

Shangri-La (in Tibet; from Lost Horizon by James Hilton)

Gargantua by François Rabelais

The New World (?)

The Land of Cockaigne (medieval Europe)

Schlaraffenland (German)

The Peach Blossom Spring (Chinese)

Utopia, Ohio (U. S.)
Utopia, Ohio (U. S.)
Utopia School, Henderson County, Kentucky, (U. S.)
Utopia School, Henderson County, Kentucky, (U. S.)


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