Shangri-La

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Napa Lake, a seasonal plateau lake in Shangri-La City in Yunnan, China, that is dry in the autumn and winter months. Formerly known as Zhongdian, Shangri-La City was renamed on 16 December 2014 after the fictional land in James Hilton’s 1933 novel Lost Horizon to promote tourism in the area.

From a fictional place described in the 1933 novel Lost Horizon by British author James Hilton (1900–1954): see the quotation below. A Tibetan origin has been suggested, from ཞང (zhang, name of a district of Ü-Tsang) +‎ རི (ri, mountain) +‎ (la, pass).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

Shangri-La (plural Shangri-Las)

  1. A place of complete bliss, delight, and peace, especially one seen as an escape from ordinary life; a paradise.
    Synonyms: paradise, utopia
    • [1933 September, James Hilton, Lost Horizon, London: Macmillan and Co., Limited, St. Martin's Street, London, published October and November 1933 (2nd printing), OCLC 803088316, page 64:
      He spoke a kind of Chinese that I don't understand very well, but I think he said something about a lamasery near here—along the valley, I gathered—where we could get food and shelter. Shangri-La, he called it. La is Tibetan for mountain-pass. He was most emphatic that we should go there.]
    • 1976, Jean Franco, “Poetry as a Mode of Existence”, in César Vallejo: The Dialectics of Poetry and Silence, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, →ISBN; 1st paperback edition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2010, →ISBN, page 2:
      The length of the journey gives a measure of the anachronism, which as [César] Vallejo said in one of his stories made the hill town a Shangri-La, forgotten by the rest of Peru.
    • 1989, Clive S. Thomas, “Understanding Interest Group Activity in the American States”, in D. K. Adams, editor, Studies in US Politics, Manchester; New York, N.Y.: Manchester University Press, →ISBN, page 182:
      With the fragmented policy-making system which results, America is a Shangri-La for interest groups and lobbyists.
    • 1989, Grant Naylor [i.e., Rob Grant and Doug Naylor], Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers, London: Penguin Books, →ISBN:
      He couldn't believe it when he'd discovered there actually was a town called Bedford Falls. It seemed like fans of the film had all collected there to live out their lives in a self-created 1940s American Shangri-la.
    • 2004, Otto von Stroheim, “Introduction”, in Tiki Art Now!: A Volcanic Eruption of Art, San Francisco, Calif.: Last Gasp of San Francisco; The Shooting Gallery, →ISBN, page 8:
      Tiki Style was forged in the business of bars and restaurants and celebrated in backyard luaus and at theme parks like Disneyland and roadside attractions such as Tiki Gardens. As these ersatz Shangri-las competed to outdo each other with the latest tropical-inspired styles, the popularity of the neighborhood Tiki lounge soared.
    • 2007, J. William Costerton, “Replacement of Acute Planctonic by Chronic Biofilm Diseases”, in Christina Eckey, editor, The Biofilm Primer, Berlin; Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, DOI:10.1007/b136878, →ISBN, ISSN 1863-9607:
      The human species was lucky, because the only time in the development of bacterial populations when diversity is sacrificed for reproductive expediency is during the exponential burst of growth that follows their discovery of an unprotected ecosystem. The two notable instances in which bacteria find these Shangri Las are in test tubes filled with fresh media and in naive animals that have not seen these particular bacteria in recent immunological memory.
    • 2015, Zhang Longxi, “In Search of a Land of Happiness: Utopia and Its Discontents”, in From Comparison to World Literature (SUNY Series in Chinese Philosophy and Culture), Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press, →ISBN, page 103:
      The desire for a better life in a better place, for a land of happiness, is perhaps one of the most basic human desires that has found many expressions in various forms—a paradise, a Golden Age, a Shangri-La, an ideal society or—generically speaking—a utopia.

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