A Thomas More Source Book

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CUA Press, 2004 - Biography & Autobiography - 395 pages
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This Source Book brings together classic texts by and about Thomas More--poet, scholar, statesman, family man, educational reformer, philosopher, historian, and saint
 

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Contents

2 Writings on Love and Friendship
157
3 Writings on Education
195
4 Writings on Government
227
5 Writings on Religion
259
6 Mores Last Days
303
Appendices
359
Chronologies of Thomas Mores Life and Writings
361
The Life and Travels of Thomas More
366
A Study Outline
372
Works Cited
375
Index
381
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About the author (2004)

Gerard B. Wegemer is Professor of English at the University of Dallas. An expert on Thomas More, he is the author of numerous works including Thomas More on Statesmanship (1996) and Thomas More: A Portrait of Courage (1995).

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.

Stephen W. Smith is Assistant Professor of English at Hillsdale College and is coeditor of Shakespeare's Last Plays: Readings in Literature and Politics (2001).