Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Utopia Britannica

A serendipitous link I found while searching on an unconnected book topic: Utopia Britannica, British Utopian Experiments 1325 - 1945.  It's the companion site to Chris Coates's book Utopia Britannica (Diggers & Dreamers Publications, 2001. ISBN 0-9514945-8-9). He explains:

Utopia Britannica began life as a history of intentional communities in the British Isles, what were called communes in the 1960s & ‘70s. As I set off on my journey down the communal memory lane with my baggage of preconceptions I thought I was clearly bound for the footnotes of history, but as I travelled through both geography and time, engaged in the research, I found myself in places that I never knew existed, accompanied by a cast of characters that ranged from the truly strange & eccentric, right through the corridors of power to the dizzy heights of fame & fortune.

What slowly emerged was a Utopian landscape stretched to the farthest corners of our country and whose influences are embedded so deep into our national culture as to be virtually invisible.I have spent a lot of time reading the footnotes of other history books piecing together a jigsaw map of UtopiaBritannica, and now when I travel I move through another country; a country of the imagination dreamt into existence by generations of utopian experimenters who refused to accept that there wasn’t a better place to be than the one that they found themselves in.

Apart from promotional pages for the print book, the website contains a gazetteer of British utopian experiments (there are plenty of Devon examples) and an index of utopian stories (a sampler of accounts from the book, some augmented with material discovered since publication).

- Ray

1 comment:

  1. Another hour of my life waftedaway in exploration! [grin]