Utopian Literature of the Renaissance Social Myths: Utopia And The Social Contract - Essay

Social Myths: Utopia And The Social Contract

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

Northrop Frye (essay date 1965)

SOURCE: "Varieties of Literary Utopias," in Utopias and Utopian Thought, edited by Frank E. Manuel, Houghton Mifflin Company and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1965, pp. 25–49.

[In the following excerpt from an essay first published in the Spring, 1965 issue of Daedalus, Frye discusses common characteristics of utopian literature, emphasizing the importance of ritual, the Christian tradition, and education.]

There Are two social conceptions which can be expressed only in terms of myth. One is the social contract, which presents an account of the origins of society. The other is the utopia,...

(The entire section is 6431 words.)