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Utopias and temporo-spatial invention: reading More with Marin

Scholar, Richard

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How do early modern utopias imagine space? In his 1973 study, Utopiques: jeux d’espaces, Louis Marin defines Utopia as the organization of space in a discourse that finds its expression in specific texts from More’s onwards. Utopia, as a no-place, is variously characterized as neutral, plural, and other. Marin says that it contains non-congruent spaces – internal gaps and fissures in the geography of Utopia unwittingly betrayed by the description of More’s traveller – and that these point to places of argument awaiting an as-yet unformulated theory of society in an era of capitalism. Utopianism may thus be said above all to occupy, for Marin, a space of prefiguration. What I wish to observe is that, even as it thus presents Utopia as organized space, Marin’s analysis is here driven by time, primarily the historical time that produces Marx, whose social theory Marin projects backwards on to More’s Utopia and which he describes as latent in that work’s critique of an emergent capitalism. Marin’s retro-projective approach, for all the remarkable insights it generates, leaves underexamined the question of how early modern utopianism may be said to have imagined space on its own terms and, in so doing, emerged as a tradition of invention.


Scholar, R. (2023). Utopias and temporo-spatial invention: reading More with Marin. Early Modern French Studies, 45(1), 22-29.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 27, 2023
Online Publication Date Jun 5, 2023
Publication Date 2023
Deposit Date Mar 28, 2023
Publicly Available Date Jun 13, 2023
Journal Early Modern French Studies
Print ISSN 2056-3035
Electronic ISSN 2056-3043
Publisher Taylor and Francis Group
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 45
Issue 1
Pages 22-29


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Copyright Statement
© 2023 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.

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