Utopia

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Broadview Press, Sep 20, 2010 - Fiction - 148 pages
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This volume includes the full text of More's 1516 classic, Utopia, together with a wide range of background contextual materials. For this edition the G.C. Richards translation has been substantially revised and modernized by William P. Weaver of Baylor University. Appendices include illustrations from the 1518 edition; relevant passages from the Bible and from Plato; and excerpts from More's 1534 Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation that have been cited for their alleged relevance to the debate over whether or not More himself espoused the "communist" principles of the Utopia he imagined.
  

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Contents

Introduction
7
A Note on the Text
19
UTOPIA
21
Copyright

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About the author (2010)

Born in London, the son of a judge, More became an important statesman and scholar. He was also one of the most eminent humanists of the Renaissance. Educated at Oxford, More became an under-sheriff of London and, later, a member of Parliament. Under King Henry VIII he served as Treasurer of the Exchequer, speaker of the House of Commons, and, finally, Lord Chancellor. More is probably best known for his Utopia, which was written in Latin (then the language of literary and intellectual Europe). It was translated into English in 1551. As the first part of this small masterpiece indicates, when More was weighing the offer to be an adviser to Henry VIII he was well aware of the compromises, bitterness, and frustration that such an office involved. In the second part, More develops his famous utopia---a Greek word punning on the meanings "a good place" and "no place"---a religious, communistic society where the common ownership of goods, obligatory work for everyone, and the regular life of all before the eyes of all ensure that one's baser nature will remain under control. Inspired by Plato's (see Vols. 3 and 4) Republic, More's Utopia became in turn the urbane legacy of the humanistic movement (in which More's friends were most notably Erasmus (see Vol. 4), John Colet, and William Grocyn) to succeeding ages. More also wrote a history, Richard III, which, if arguably the first instance of modern historiography in its attention to character and its departure from chronicle, is also, in its responsiveness to the Tudor polemic of divine rights, largely responsible for the notorious reputation of Richard as an evil ruler. More's refusal to recognize Henry VIII as Head of the Church led to a sentence of high treason. Imprisoned for more than a year, he was finally beheaded. Eventually, More was granted sainthood.

Joseph L. Black is professor and director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Kate Flint is Provost's Professor of English and Art History at the University of Southern California.

Anne Lake Prescott is Professor of English at Barnard College, Columbia University, where she was recently chair. A Columbia Ph.D., she has also taught in the Columbia graduate department. She is the author of French Poets and the English Renaissance: Studies in Fame and Transformation, many articles on Renaissance literature, and ten contributions to The Spenser Encyclopedia.

Susan J. Wolfson is professor of English at Princeton University. In addition to this present volume, her editorial work includes "Felicia Hemans" (Princeton UP, 2000) and the Longman Cultural Edition of "John Keats," With Claudia Johnson, she is coeditor of the Longman Cultural Edition of Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice," With Peter Manning, she is coeditor of the Romantics volume in "The Longman Anthology of British Literature," and Selected Poems of Lord Byron (Penguin, 2005). Her critical books include the prize-winning "Formal Charges: The Shaping of Poetry in British Romanticism" (Stanford UP, 1997) and "Borderlines: The Shiftings of Gender in British Romanticism" (Stanford UP, 2007). Barry V. Qualls is the author of "The Secular Pilgrims: The Novel as Book of Life" (Cambridge), and of articles and reviews on 19th-Century English Literature and on the Bible and its literary impact. His teaching interests focus on Victorian fiction and on biblical literatures. At Rutgers, he is Vice President of Undergraduate Education; earlier he served as Dean of Humanities for the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and as Chair of the Department of English.

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