Radical in its dayand long overdue in Englishthis rare French classic traces the journey of fictional British Lord Clarisdall to the exotic island nation of Icaria. To his delight, Clarisdell discovers an ideal utopian democracy prospering amid peace and harmony. Devoid of competition or property, Icaria triumphs over the social evils of nineteeth-century capitalism.
Clarisdell’s amazement is constant. Foreign affairs are conducted by the community. Money and domestic commerce do not exist. Everyone gives to and draws from the common pot in equal measure. No pastoral idyll, the narrative describes a modern machine-age economy with social policiesfree education, equality for the sexes, strict family/moral tiesthat reflect enlightenment. Crime here is a myth; arts and culture are treasured commodities.
Cabet described a totally integrated “community of goods” in the fifty years following the great revolution of 1782. Published at personal risk, his bold allegory gave birth to a real Icarian community that lasted into the late 1800s.
Etienne Cabet (1788-1856) was a French utopian socialist, politician, and newspaper editor. Voyage en Icarie served to propel his economic, social, and political theories.
Leslie J. Roberts is professor of foreign languages at University of Southern Indiana.
Robert Sutton, professor of history at Western Illinois University, is the author of Les Icariens: The Utopian Dream in Europe and America.
Series: Utopianism and Communitarianism
6 x 9, 256 pages