Although the name of utopia goes back to Thomas Moore, the genre, or its typical way of thinking seems an important tradition of western culture, which produced several important works and branches through the centuries. The lecture follows the tradition from the origins to nineteenth-century utopian novel to twentieth-century dystopias and to contemporary science fiction to see how the fantasy-created possible (and many times impossible) world becomes a carrier of social criticism. It is a returning problem if pure utopias without dystopian features can ever be written.
Péter Hajdu (1966, Budapest, Hungary) studies Literature, Greek and Latin at the Eötvös LUniversity, Budapest, Hungary, and wrote his dissertation on late Roman epic poetry. He is academic advisor at the Institute for Literary Studies of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, also professor at Shanghai Jiao Tang University, and editor-in-chief of Neohelicon, a major international journal on comparative literature studies. Member of advisory boards of four international journals on literary studies (Proudy, Czech Republic; Frontiers of Narrative Studies, Germany; Recherche Litteraire/Literary Research, Belgium, Primerjalna književnost, Slovenia). He did extensive research in the fields of comparative literature, theory of literature, and classical philology. From 2002 to 2009 he was a member of the International Comparative Literature Association's (ICLA) Research Committee for East- and South-East Europe, 2008-2014 he was member of the standing research committee for literary theory, and 2010-16 member of the ICLA Executive Council. 2002-2012 secretary, since 2016 president of Hungarian Comparative Literature Association. He lectured at various universities in Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland, PR China, and Japan. He has published 6 books and more than 130 papers.