The Movement’s Utopian Thoughts on Family, Work, Education, and Government in the Sixties
Frédéric ROBERT

The word UTOPIA stands in common usage for the ultimate in human folly or human hope – vain dreams of perfection in a Never-Never Land or rational efforts to remake man’s environment and his institutions and even his own erring nature, so as to enrich the possibilities of the common life. Sir Thomas More, the coiner of this word, was aware of both implications. Lest anyone else should miss them, he elaborated his paradox in a quatrain which, unfortunately, has sometimes been omitted from English translations of his Utopia (1516), the book that at last gave a name to a much earlier series of efforts to picture ideal commonwealths. More was a punster, in an age when the keenest minds delighted to play tricks with language, and when it was not always wise to speak too plainly. In his little verse he explained that utopia might refer either to the Greek “eutopia”, which means the good place, or to “outopia”, which means no place.

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