June 2008 • ISBN 978-0874130485 • $42.99
Utopian imaginings undoubtedly satisfy a desire for fantasy and escape. At the same time, they are generally anchored in the real world, whose shortcomings they criticize, implicitly or explicitly, and for which they purport to offer solutions. The creation of perfect imaginary worlds therefore serves as a means of acting on the imperfect present. This is a particular feature of French utopian writing whose rich tradition continues to grow, inspiring authors from all parts of the Francophone world. As the essays in this volume demonstrate, the utopian—and dystopian—imaginings which constitute that tradition find expression through all genres and modes of creation. What they have in common, though, is a dissatisfaction with contemporary society and a determination to explore possibilities for a better life. A nonexistent place the utopia may be. But it is there precisely because there is nowhere perfect that we continue to seek the perfect nowhere.