Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature : Genre Fiction

  • by The Great Courses
  • Narrated by Professor Pamela Bedore
  • Series: Genre Fiction
  • 12 hrs and 26 mins
  • Lecture

Publisher's Summary

Can literature change our real world society? At its foundation, utopian and dystopian fiction asks a few seemingly simple questions aimed at doing just that. Who are we as a society? Who do we want to be? Who are we afraid we might become? When these questions are framed in the speculative versions of Heaven and Hell on earth, you won't find easy answers, but you will find tremendously insightful and often entertaining perspectives.
Utopian and dystopian writing sits at the crossroads of literature and other important academic disciplines such as philosophy, history, psychology, politics, and sociology. It serves as a useful tool to discuss our present condition and future prospects - to imagine a better tomorrow and warn of dangerous possibilities. To examine the future of mankind through detailed and fascinating stories that highlight and exploit our anxieties in adventurous, thought-provoking, and engaging ways. From Thomas More's foundational text Utopia published in 1516 to the 21st-century phenomenon of The Hunger Games, dive into stories that seek to find the best - and the worst - in humanity, with the hope of better understanding ourselves and the world. Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature delivers 24 illuminating lectures, led by Pamela Bedore, Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, which plunge you into the history and development of utopian ideas and their dystopian counterparts. You'll encounter some of the most powerful and influential texts in this genre as you travel centuries into the past and thousands of years into the future, through worlds that are beautiful, laughable, terrifying, and always thought-provoking.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Highly topical, informative, and entertaining

Where does Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This was one of the most enjoyable audiobook experience I have had.


What was the most compelling aspect of this narrative?

This audiobook, or rather lecture series made me genuinely excited about exploring Dystopian works of literature. The treatment seemed comprehensive but not tedious. Prof Bedfore was communicated her passion about the topic with clarity and humor. She expanded my view of this literature well beyond the basics.

It is also a highly topical since Dystopian works from The Handmaid's Tale to the Walking Dead, to the Hunger Games, to Wayward pines seem to be very popular now.

She also relates Utopian literature to the many failed attempts over the year to create real-life Utopias.

Finally, I am shocked that I never stumbled upon Russian author Zamyatin's Novel "We" which is features extraordinarily beautiful writing. One can see the direct line between WE and 1984 and Brave New world.

I felt enlighten after listening to the Prof's lectures.


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Well, yes, if it is possible


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- M Lewis

A very enjoyable and educational audiobook

I won a free Audible credit from the Audiobook Addicts facebook group. I chose The Great Courses title Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature. I have enjoyed many of the Great Courses before and the topic really appealed to me. Professor Bedore does a fantastic job of presenting the material while keeping it very interesting for the listener. The course has twenty-four lessons totaling over twelve hours.

The course begins with a discussion of what Utopian and Dystopian mean. The next lesson starts the discussion of the first Utopian work by Thomas More. There are several lessons covering the other Utopian writers such as Swift and H. G. Wells. The course then moves on to the Dystopias. It covers much more than Orwell's 1984. The breath of the course is really amazing. It covers The Hunger Games and the Apocalyptic works of this century. The final lesson is on the future of the two genres.

The accompanied course guide, in Adobe pdf format, is amazing. It is over two hundred and forty pages of information. Each lesson has an outline of what is covered and a Suggested Reading section as well as Questions to consider. The Bibliography at the end is incredible. It is going to populate my to-read list for years to come.

Great Utopian and Dystopian Works of Literature was a very enjoyable and educational audiobook. I would recommend it for anyone who reads Utopian or Dystopian genres.
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- N. H.

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-03-2017
  • Publisher: The Great Courses