An imaginary land of idleness, luxury, ease and plenty.
Where physical comforts and pleasures are always immediately at hand and where the harshness of medieval peasant life does not exist.
Like Atlantis and El Dorado, the land of Cokayne was a fictional utopia, a place where, in a parody of paradise, idleness and gluttony were the principal occupations. In Specimens of Early English Poets (1790), George Ellis printed a 13th century French poem called "The Land of Cokaigne" where
the houses were made of barley sugar and cakes, the streets were paved with pastry, and the shops supplied goods for nothing.
According to Herman Pleij,Dreaming of Cokaigne: Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life (2001):
roasted pigs wander about with knives in their backs to make carving easy, where grilled geese fly directly into one's mouth, where cooked fish jump out of the water and land at one's feet. The weather is always mild, the wine flows freely, sex is readily available, and all people enjoy eternal youth.
Cokaigne was a "medieval peasant’s dream, offering relief from backbreaking labor and the daily struggle for meager food."
The Brothers Grimm collected and retold the fairy tale in Das Märchen vom Schlaraffenland (The Tale About the Land of Cokayne).
In the 1820s, the name Cokaigne came to be applied jocularly to London, as the land of Cockneys, and thus "Cokaigne", though the two are not linguistically connected otherwise. The composer Edward Elgar used the title "Cokaigne" for his concert overture and suite evoking the people of London, Cokaigne (In London Town) (1901)
Prices shown in USD.
Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!
Emails are sent from email@example.com. We'll never spam you.