Utopian Impulses during the English Interregnum: John Eliot and Gerrard Winstanley

Alice Manuela Martins Guimaraes


During the English Interregnum John Eliot and Gerrard Winstanley wrote their utopias in different hemispheres, depicting different patterns of utopias which offered alternative models of code laws for a divine platform of Government they urged the English to emulate. Within this extraordinary historical and political context, political action and utopian literature enjoyed an unparalleled symbiosis. Through a close analysis of the parallels and main differences of their works we can get deeper insight the thought and culture of that period. Their utopias, The Law of Freedom and The Christian Commonwealth, share the same political agenda towards reality and convey a similar plan of realization in their political aspirations, but each author displays a uniquely different emphasis and approach to utopia, differing from one another in epistemology, ideology and social and political emphasis. However by assessing the potential of these utopias we can trace some bridges linking their authors' perceptions to shape a better future for the same country. Their radicalism concerning the royalist power, their concern to eradicate the old civil and ecclesiastical system, the search of a political order and stability, the improvement of social conditions and religious tolerance, were depicted within their utopian texts. A close analysis of these texts which have never been grouped and brought together by scholars, illustrates the range of the political imagination of their authors and provides an opportunity to examine different ways to deal with political and social concerns and different perspectives for ideal solutions by such writers who were so committed to connecting utopia to reality.    


Utopia; Interregnum; Eliot; Winstanley

Full Text:


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21533/epiphany.v6i1.51


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2014 Epiphany

Epiphany (pISSN 2303-6850, eISSN 1840-3719) is currently Indexed/Abstracted