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Kohlmann, B (2018). »Plain and positiue termes«: The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives. Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, 59(1), 155-181. https://doi.org/10.3790/ljb.59.1.155
Kohlmann, Benjamin (2018). "»Plain and positiue termes«: The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives" Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, vol. 59no. 1, 2018 pp. 155-181. https://doi.org/10.3790/ljb.59.1.155
Kohlmann, B (2018). »Plain and positiue termes«: The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives. Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, Vol. 59 (Issue 1), pp 155-181. https://doi.org/10.3790/ljb.59.1.155

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»Plain and positiue termes«: The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives

Kohlmann, Benjamin

Literaturwissenschaftliches Jahrbuch, Vol. 59 (2018), Iss. 1 : pp. 155–181

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Benjamin Kohlmann, Freiburg

Abstract

In an influential account of the development of utopian thinking in the early modern period, the historian Reinhart Koselleck observed that the utopian impulse emerged in response to the disruptive and disorienting effects of modernity. As traditional epistemic regimes and certainties began to crumble, Koselleck argues, present and future »experiences could no longer be inferred from previous experience […]. This challenge increased in scope during the whole of the period that is today called frühe Neuzeit.« The gap that opened up between the realm of (everyday) experience and the elusiveness of a seemingly unpredictable future created anxieties but it also came to »sustain[ ] a utopian surplus«. In this context, utopian thinking and writing helped to rein in the apparent unpredictability of progress by imagining alternative worlds: these alternative worlds held out the stable vision of a fully achieved modernity in which the confusions of the present were triumphantly overcome. In this connection, critics have not paid nearly enough attention to the role that is played by the idea of a perfect language in early modern literary utopias.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Benjamin Kohlmann: »Plain and positiue termes«: The Idea of a Perfect Language in Early Modern Utopian Narratives 1
Language and Utopian Praxis in Thomas More’s Utopia 4
»Real Characters«: Language and/as Science in Bacon’s New Atlantis 1
Francis Lodwick’s Universal Language Scheme in A Country Not Named 2