The word utopia was used for the first time in English literature by Sir Thomas More in the title of his work Utopia (1516).
The word indicates an ideal place which does not exist. In More’s book, Utopia is an island where there is not private property because that is considered the origin of all the evils of the society. People live in a community where all the goods are shared, there is a free education and free medical treatment, all religions are tolerated and have time for relaxation and entertainment. The next utopian work was The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon in 1626. It describes a completely isolated society which has full control of nature and where there are inventions suggesting the future development of airlplanes, submarines and telephones among other fantastic improvements.
In the 18th century, the most famous utopian writer was Swift with his Gulliver’s Travels, which was a masterpiece of semi-utopian narrative. The use of the term ‘semi-utopian’ derives from the fact that of the four types of society described in the book only one can be considered a truly utopian land because the other three show negative aspects. In the 19th century, Erewhon was published by Butler, the title is an anagram of ‘nowhere’. It tells the story of a young traveller who discovered the land of Erewhon. The 20th century saw a great production of literary utopias. Most of them were technological utopias. Most of these works were also called science fiction novels. The best example is The Time Machine by Wells. It treats the theme of confrontation with the alien, of the last man on the earth and the death of the world. The most important of Wells’ utopian novel is A Modern Utopia. But science and technology became a threat to man.