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The Utopian Impulse

An Exhibition in the Memorabilia Room, Sterling Memorial Library
Until August 21, 2009

The “utopian impulse” is the desire to imagine or create a perfect society. Focusing on examples from the 15th through 18th centuries, this exhibition examines the many ways that Early Modern Europeans at home and abroad expressed the utopian impulse, seeking to fashion and explore new or "discovered" ideal societies, paradises lost and found, and perfect, harmonious built environments. Objects on view include architectural treatises and plans, utopian tracts, travel narratives, and maps of real and imagined places.

"The Utopian Impulse" is a collaboration across the collections of the Yale University Libraries, featuring works from the Anne T. & Robert M. Bass Library, the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Manuscripts and Archives, the Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, the Sterling Memorial Library general collections, and the Yale Map Department of Sterling Memorial Library. The exhibition was generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and curated by Mia Reinoso Genoni, Mellon Special Collections Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow. Warm thanks to all who helped make this exhibition possible.