PS/MS Utopia and Dystopia



Time and place

  • Mo 10:15-11:45, .ics


  • BA English and American Studies: Zwischenmodul II Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Zwischenmodul I: Thematisches Kombinationsmodul)

  • Lehramt Englisch an Gymnasien: Zwischenmodul L-GYM Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Basismodul Literature)

  • Lehramt Englisch an Grund-, Mittel- und Realschulen: Zwischenmodul L-UF Literature (Zulassungsvoraussetzung: Elementarmodul Literature)


In this seminar, we will focus on the English history of utopian and dystopian writing. After analysing Thomas Morus’s |Utopia| (1516), we will study Sir Francis Bacon’s utopian concept of science in |New Atlantis| (1627). Whereas these early texts may be looked upon as ‘utopias of space’, a shift towards ‘utopias of time’ can be discovered in the second half of the 19th Century, among them William Morris’s |News from Nowhere| (1890) and H. G. Wells’s |The Time Machine| (1895). Towards the 20th Century, the descriptions of other unknown worlds reveal a dystopian nature. In class we will read three classical negative utopias: George Orwell’s |Nineteen Eighty-Four| (1949), Aldous Huxley’s |Brave New World| (1931), and Anthony Burgess’s |A Clockwork Orange| (1962). The seminar will end with a discussion of Dave Eggers’s dystopian novel |The Circle| (2013).

Additional information

Expected participants: 20