Utopia has always had a close, though ambivalent, relationship with millennialism. This relationship was probably at its most intense in England at the time of the Civil War; even when utopia aspired to secularism – as at the time of the French Revolution, or in nineteenth-century socialism – it continued to turn to millennial forms to recharge its energies.
The essays in this book explore aspects of this relationship; some consider their role in the debate concerning human perfectibility, while others examine the rise of secularism. Further contributions reflect upon the apparent failure of the modern Communist utopia, note the recent reappearance of apocalyptic themes in fiction and social theory, or draw on the contributions of feminism and ecology. As our century ends, it seems that utopia and the millennium are once more locked in an uneasy embrace.
With essays by Louis Marin, J. C. Davis, Louis James, Gregory Claeys, Krishan Kumar, Vita Fortunati, David Ayers, Jan Relf and John O'Neill.