Max Nettlau’s Utopian Vision

Max Nettlau’s Utopian Vision

A Translation of Esbozo de Historia de Las Utopias

Edited and translated by Toby Widdicombe

Anthem Anarchist Studies

Max Nettlau’s Utopian Vision provides a historically grounded presentation of the entire literature of utopianism. Nettlau shows an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject.

Hardback, 250 Pages


June 2023

£80.00, $125.00

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About This Book

Max Nettlau’s Utopian Vision provides a historically grounded presentation of the entire literature of utopianism. Nettlau shows an encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject. He passionately believed that the value of utopian thinking and class struggle should not be underestimated as utopian desire exists in all of us. Utopian thinking, according to Nettlau, stimulates the imagination and awakens the desire to attain a better life for everyone. Nettlau argues that every idea begins as a utopia: some are realized; others are not. Utopian thinking also creates a desire for radical change in society without which no new reality could emerge. Every reality is first dreamed of and, then, the act of dreaming awakens the desire for realization. It is the same desire without which every piece of art would be unthinkable. When utopian ideas reach the masses, forces are released that build bridges into the future and make things possible that otherwise would only exist as dreamlike imaginings. Indeed, Nettlau claims that history is the record of utopian thought practically imagined.


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Author Information

Toby Widdicombe is a professor of English at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He has specialized during his career in utopianism, Shakespeare, American literature, and textual studies.


Anthem Anarchist Studies

Table of Contents

I. Introduction; A. Brief Biography of Max Nettlau: 1. Chronology; 2. Bibliography of Nettlau’s Works; B. Discussion of the Textual History of the Work; C. Discussion of the Place of this Sketch of Utopianism in the History of Ideas; D. Discussion of the Particular Merits of the Nettlau Text; E. Discussion of the Criteria Governing the Translation: 1. Brief Excursus on Translation Theory; 2. Emphasis on Readability over Literal Accuracy; 3. Problems Associated with Basing a Translation on Two Texts in Different Languages; 4. Textual Cruxes Deriving from Nettlau’s Habits of Composition and on His Writing in a French that Betrays His German First-Language Roots; 5. Editorial Decisions (Degree Of Standardization and Normalization of the Text; Handling of Titles of Texts Other than Those in English, etc.) Ii. Text Iii. Notes Iv. Index.


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