Utopia

Front Cover
Yale University Press, 2001 - Philosophy - 173 pages
20 Reviews
First published in 1516, Saint Thomas More's Utopia is one of the most important works of European humanism. Through the voice of the mysterious traveller Raphael Hythloday, More describes a pagan, communist city-state governed by reason. Addressing such issues as religious pluralism, women's rights, state-sponsored education, colonialism, and justified warfare, Utopia seems remarkably contemporary nearly five centuries after it was written, and it remains a foundational text in philosophy and political theory. Precminent More scholar Clarence H. Miller does justice to the full range of More's rhetoric in this new translation. Professor Miller includes a helpful introduction that outlines some of the important problems and issues that Utopia raises, and also provides informative commentary to assist the reader throughout this challenging and rewarding exploration of the meaning of political community.
  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theokester - LibraryThing

Thomas More's Utopia is nearly five centuries old yet it's still quite relevant and poignant today. It's somewhere between a fictional travelogue and a philosophical political treatise. I found it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - jesssika - LibraryThing

The work begins with written correspondence between Thomas More and several people he had met on the continent: Peter Giles, town clerk of Antwerp, and Jerome Busleiden, counselor to Charles V. More ... Read full review

Contents

UTOPIA I
1
Thomas More to His Friend Peter Giles
137

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About the author (2001)

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.

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