Utopia and utopian writing in Arabic

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Abstract

This chapter discusses the reception of Thomas More’s Utopia in Arabic from the seventeenth to the twenty-first centuries. Thomas More was initially seen by Arab Christians as a Catholic martyr. During the Arab Nahda (‘Revival’) movement in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, his Utopia was then received as a forerunner of socialism and technological modernity, and interpreted in the shadow, notably, of Marxism and H. G. Wells. Utopia was also placed alongside the Virtuous City of the earlier Islamic philosopher al-Farabi, feeding into a renewed interest in local and religious cultural forms. Finally, notions of dystopia as well as utopia have played a role in interpreting Arab politics in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as utopian aspirations—most evident in the 2011 Arab uprisings—have contended with social crisis, authoritarianism, and violence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of Thomas More’s Utopia
EditorsCathy Shrank, Phil Withington
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Chapter29
Pages492-506
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9780191990502
ISBN (Print)9780198881018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2023

Publication series

NameOxford Handbooks
PublisherOxford University Press

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