Utopia

Front Cover
Random House LLC, 1992 - Philosophy - 144 pages
62 Reviews

 
First published in 1516, during a period of astonishing political and technological change, Sir Thomas More's Utopia depicts an imaginary society free of private property, sexual discrimination, violence, and religious intolerance. 

Raphael Hythloday, a philospher and world traveler, describes to the author and his friend an island nation he has visited called Utopia (combining the Greek ou-topos and eu-topos, for "no place" and "good place," respectively).  Hythloday believes the rational social order of the Utopians is far superior to anything in Europe, while his listeners find many of their customs appealing but absurd.  Given the enigmatic ambivalence of the character that More named after himself and the playful Greek puns he sprinkled throughout (including Hythloday's name, which means "knowing nonsense"), it is difficult to know what precisely More meant his readers to make of all the innovations of his Utopia.  But its radical humanism has had an incalculable effect on modern history, and the callenge of its vision is as insistent today as it was in the Renaissance. With an introduction by Jenny Mezciems.


(Book Jacket Status: Not Jacketed)

  

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What a great book with so much good advice. - LibraryThing
His prose is elegant and enjoyable to read. - Goodreads
More is an engaging writer. - Goodreads

Review: Utopia

User Review  - zeineb - Goodreads

This book is so triggering...I could not make up my mind on a solid opinion about it. I gave it four stars because I was impressed by the structure and language used, an old english that is so fluent ... Read full review

Review: Utopia

User Review  - Fox - Goodreads

I think I got more out of this book by reading the extensive notes and introductions than by reading the book itself. The book was so full of allusions to political situations, changes in speech and ... Read full review

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About the author (1992)

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.