Term coined by Sir Thomas More in the early 16th century. Derived from two Greek words: Eutopia (meaning 'good place') and Outopia (meaning 'no place'). Thomas More intended the irony when he wrote his genre-setting novel, Utopia .
"The word now conjures up the vision of an ideal society." --Henry W.Targowski (in Mark/Space ).
"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 , 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". --Lewis Mumford (in The Story of Utopias , 1922).
"Utopias are models for mimesis usually timed for the future, and the best of them may well have influenced many readers. We do not claim them to be formative to civilization except as they are related to ideals affecting man's behavior and giving him new aims". --Nell Eurich (in Science in Utopia , 1967)
"The authoritarian utopias of the nineteenth century are chiefly responsible for the anti-utopian attitude prevalent among intellectuals today. But utopias have not always described regimented societies, centralized states and nations of robots. Diderot's Tahiti or Morris's Nowhere gave us utopias where men were free from both physical and moral compulsion, where they worked not out of necessity or a sense of duty but because they found work a pleasurable activity, where love knew no laws and where every man was an artist.
"Utopias have often been plans of societies functioning mechanically, dead structures conceived by economists, politicians and moralists; but they have also been the living dream of poets." --Marie Louise Berneri (in Journey Through Utopia , first published posthumously in 1950).
"We should think of utopia as a world in which individuals and groups had the freedom, will, energy, and talent to make and remake their lives unencumbered by insufficiency and the fear of violent death". --George Kateb (from the preface to Utopia and Its Enemies , 1972 edition).
"A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realisation of Utopias. --Oscar Wilde.
"Without the Utopias of other times, men would still live in caves, miserable and naked. It was Utopians who traced the lines of the first city... Out of generous dreams come beneficial realities. Utopia is the principle of all progress, and the essay into a better future". --Anatole France.
"The world is now too dangerous for anything less than Utopia." --R.Buckminster Fuller.