Utopian Literature of the Renaissance The Classical Background - Essay

The Classical Background

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Lewis Mumford (essay date 1922)

SOURCE: A chapter from The Story of Utopias, Boni and Liveright, 1922. Reprint by The Viking Press, 1962, pp. 29-55.

[In the following essay, Mumford discusses the origins of the concept of Utopia in ancient Greece, focusing on Plato's conception of the ideal city in the Republic.]

Before the great empires of Rome and Macedonia began to spread their camps through the length and breadth of the Mediterranean world, there was a time when the vision of an ideal city seems to have been uppermost in the minds of a good many men. Just as the wide expanse of unsettled territory in America caused the people of eighteenth...

(The entire section is 7653 words.)