AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 1217059069103343469.jpg
Image courtesy of publisher's website.
y separately published work icon Utopian Man single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2009... 2009 Utopian Man
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'It's the 1880s and Marvellous Melbourne is a lavish and raucous city where anything could happen. Eccentric entrepreneur Edward William Cole is building the sprawling Cole's Book Arcade and filling it with whatever amuses him, or supports his favourite causes: a giant squid, a brass band, monkeys, a black man whose skin has turned white, a Chinese tea salon, and of course, hundreds of thousands of books.

'When Edward decides to marry he advertises for a wife in the newspaper, shocking and titillating the whole town. To everyone's surprise he marries his broadsheet bride and the Arcade grows into a monumental success.

'But the 1890s depression hits Melbourne - and Edward - hard, and the death of one of his children leaves him reeling. Grief, corruption and a beautiful, unscrupulous widow all threaten to derail his singular vision. But it's not until he visits Chinatown one night - and his own deeply suppressed past - that the idealist faces his toughest challenge.

'Utopian Man is the story of a man who lives life on his own terms, and leaves behind a remarkable legacy.' (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Dedication: To W. Turtle, idealist.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

First known date: 2009
    • Crows Nest, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Allen and Unwin , 2010 .
      image of person or book cover 1217059069103343469.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 248p.
      ISBN: 9781742373348 (pbk.)

Works about this Work

Constructing Cosmopolitanism, Promoting Humanitarianism : The Marvellous Melbourne of E.W. Cole in Lisa Lang’s Utopian Man (2010) Kate Mitchell , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Literary Studies , September vol. 32 no. 2 2017;

'Lisa Lang’s award-winning Australian novel Utopian Man (2010) reimagines E.W. Cole and his famous Book Arcade in Melbourne in the last decades of the nineteenth century. Running in its central Melbourne location from 1883-1929, in popular discourses Cole’s Book Arcade was, and is, synonymous with nineteenth-century Melbourne itself; its vibrant, eclectic atmosphere seemed to capture the essence of the booming nineteenth-century metropolis. In Lang’s biofiction, the Arcade becomes a lens through which to view Melbourne itself. Cole is sympathetically drawn and his characteristics – his eccentricities, entrepreneurism, philanthropy and idealism – provide a critical contrast with a city increasingly suspicious toward immigrants, as Australia moves toward federation, and toward establishing the White Australia policy. While it is set entirely in the past, the novel’s structural nostalgia – the Arcade and its values are always already lost in this narrative – speaks to a present in which Australia is once again closing its borders. The novel positions itself as witness to Australia’s lost alternative of a tolerant society, one that embraced other views and welcomed a range of immigrants, and which exists today only as memory.'  (Publication abstract)

Melbourne by the Book John Bailey , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 12 August 2012; (p. 8-9)
Future in Safe Hands Catherine Keenan , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 21- 22 May 2011; (p. 28-29)
A Utopian Man Rhona Hammond , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Overland [Online] , September 2011;

— Review of Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel
Great Expectations Peter Craven , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Author , December vol. 42 no. 3 2010; (p. 6-9)
First Strokes of Artistry Diane Stubbings , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 28 August 2010; (p. 23)

— Review of Night Street Kristel Thornell , 2009 single work novel ; Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel
Review of Utopian Man by Lisa Lang Gillian Dooley , 2010 2010 single work review
— Appears in: Writers Radio, Radio Adelaide. 2000-;

— Review of Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel
Perspectives on History Liam Davison , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 4-5 September 2010; (p. 20-21)

— Review of Night Street Kristel Thornell , 2009 single work novel ; Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel
History Made in Melbourne James Ley , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: The Age , 4 September 2010; (p. 20-21)

— Review of Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel ; Night Street Kristel Thornell , 2009 single work novel
Odd Lives Laid Bare Stephanie Bishop , 2010 single work review
— Appears in: The Australian Literary Review , September vol. 5 no. 8 2010; (p. 17)

— Review of Utopian Man Lisa Lang , 2009 single work novel ; Night Street Kristel Thornell , 2009 single work novel ; The Vintage and the Gleaning Jeremy Chambers , 2008 single work novel ; Milk Fever Lisa Reece-Lane , 2010 single work novel
Historical Focus for Vogel Winners Marc McEvoy , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 18 September 2009; (p. 20)
Colourful Characters Lead Authors to Vogel Award Kim Christian , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 18 September 2009; (p. 6)
Haunted Tales Jane Gleeson-White , 2010 single work criticism
— Appears in: Overland , Summer no. 201 2010; (p. 38-41)
'If it is possible to assess the current state of Australian literature through a reading of four novels published in September and October 2010...then I'd say Australian fiction is haunted, preoccupied with the past'. p. 38
Great Expectations Peter Craven , 2010 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Author , December vol. 42 no. 3 2010; (p. 6-9)
Future in Safe Hands Catherine Keenan , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 21- 22 May 2011; (p. 28-29)
Last amended 2 Aug 2016 09:20:58
Settings:
  • Melbourne, Victoria,
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X