In Utopia, More paints a vision of the customs and practices of a distant island, but Utopia means 'no place' and his narrator's name, Hythlodaeus, translates as 'dispenser of nonsense'. This fantastical tale masks what is a serious and subversive analysis of the failings of More's society. Advocating instead a world in which there is religious tolerance, provision for the aged and state ownership of land, Utopia has been variously claimed as a Catholic tract or an argument for communism, and it still invites each generation to make its own interpretation.
This revised and updated edition of Paul Turner's vibrant translation from the original Latin features a new chronology and further reading list. The revised introduction explores the impact of Utopia on subsequent literary generations and highlights the contradiction between More's beliefs and the propositions put forward in his book.
About The Author
Saint Thomas More, 1478–1535, English statesman and author of Utopia, celebrated as a martyr in the Roman Catholic Church. He received a Latin education in the household of Cardinal Morton and at Oxford. Through his contact with the new learning and his friendships with Colet, Lyly, and Erasmus, More became an ardent humanist. As a successful London lawyer, he attracted the attention of Henry VIII, served him on diplomatic missions, entered the king’s service in 1518, and was knighted in 1521. More held important government offices and, despite his disapproval of Henry’s divorce from Katharine of Aragón, he was made lord chancellor at the fall of Wolsey (1529). He resigned in 1532 because of ill health and probably because of increasing disagreement with Henry’s policies. Because of his refusal to subscribe to the Act of Supremacy, which impugned the pope’s authority and made Henry the head of the English Church, he was imprisoned (1534) in the Tower and finally beheaded on a charge of treason.
A man of noble character and deep, resolute religious conviction, More had great personal charm, unfailing good humor, piercing wit, and a fearlessness that enabled him to jest even on the scaffold. His Utopia (published in Latin, 1516; tr. 1551) is a picture of an ideal state founded entirely on reason. Among his other works in Latin and English are a translation of The Life of John Picus, Earl of Mirandula (1510); a History of Richard III, upon which Shakespeare based his play; a number of polemical tracts against the Lutherans (1528–33); devotional works including A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (1534) and a Treatise on the Passion (1534); poems; meditations; and prayers. More was beatified (1886) by a decree of Pope Leo XIII, canonized (1935) by Pius XI, and proclaimed (2000) the patron saint of politicians by John Paul II.
|Introduction: More's Utopia in Historical Perspective||p. 1|
|Literary Conventions||p. 3|
|Philosophical Convictions||p. 8|
|Personal Involvements||p. 26|
|Historical Circumstances||p. 31|
|The Translator to the Gentle Reader||p. 82|
|The Epistle, Thomas More to Peter Giles Sendeth Greeting||p. 83|
|The First Book||p. 88|
|The Second Book||p. 127|
|Letter from Peter Giles to Hierome Buslide||p. 202|
|A Meter of Four Verses||p. 205|
|A Short Meter of Utopia||p. 206|
|Gerard Noviomage of Utopia||p. 206|
|Cornelius Graphey to the Reader||p. 207|
|The Printer to the Reader||p. 207|
|Ralph Robynson's Dedicatory Letter to William Cecil||p. 209|
|Selected Bibliography||p. 213|
|Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: May 2003
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 12.9 x 1.0
Weight (kg): 19.8
Edition Number: 1