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Introduction Utopian Literature Dystopian Literature Utopian Communities



Tommaso Campanella. Realis philosophiae epilogisticae partes quatuor, hoc est De rervm natvra, hominvm moribvs, politica, (cui civitas solis iuncta est) & oeconomica, cum adnotationibus physiologicis.... Frankfurt: Godfried Tampachius, 1623.




City of the Sun

Born in Calabria, southern Italy, the Dominican monk Campanella was persecuted, jailed and tortured as a heretic by the Catholic Church for most of his life. His work La Citta Del Sole (1601) advocates communism, eugenics and an education program in which the illustrated walls of the city form the classroom.

La Citta Del Sole owes a great deal to More’s Utopia. A dialogue between a Knight Hospitaller and a Genoese sailor, it reflects many of the ideas and devices in More’s work. The Solarians, like the Utopians, are not Christian, but believe in the immortality of the soul; both peoples do not believe in war but are prepared to fight; in neither place is there much privacy.

Science was only to receive a central role in utopia with Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis, but the method of education preached in La Citta del Sole was Campanella’s most memorable invention. Claiming that the route to true knowledge was through the senses rather than through reason, Campanella had his Solarians learn through observation, not so much of Nature herself, but of their own city, which resembled a huge illustrated encyclopedia, featuring murals and alphabets. Campanella’s utopia and his conception of the environment as a pedagogical exercise was the inspiration behind Lenin’s Monumental Propaganda Plan.