chapter  6
27 Pages

Domestic utopias: Joseph Andrews; Tom Jones; Clarissa; Sir Charles Grandison

Whether writing novels or satire, the writers so far considered have located their fictional utopias ostentatiously outside their own dear country, the better to comment on it. They may not need to go as far as the moon, but most opt for the southern hemisphere at least. Remoteness is a prerequisite. The reasons for this are formally related to genre, but also perhaps reveal something about eighteenth-century British culture. For this is a culture that is simultaneously sceptical about any sign of utopian thinking in domestic politics and starry-eyed about imperialist expansion. Eighteenth-century Britain tends to export its ideals.