Utopia: Second Edition

Thomas More
Copyright Date: 2001
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 232
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    Saint Thomas More'sUtopiais one of the most important works of European humanism and serves as a key text in survey courses on Western intellectual history, the Renaissance, political theory, and many other subjects. Preeminent More scholar Clarence H. Miller does justice to the full range of More's rhetoric in this masterful translation. In a new afterword to this edition, Jerry Harp contextualizes More's life andUtopiawithin the wider frames of European humanism and the Renaissance."Clarence H. Miller's fine translation tracks the supple variations of More's Latin with unmatched precision, and his Introduction and notes are masterly. Jerry Harp's new Afterword adroitly places More's wonderful little book into its broader contexts in intellectual history."-George M. Logan, author ofThe Meaning of More's "Utopia""Sir Thomas More'sUtopiais not merely one of the foundational texts of western culture, but also a book whose most fundamental concerns are as urgent now as they were in 1516 when it was written. Clarence H. Miller's wonderful translation of More's classic is now happily once again available to readers. This is the English edition that best captures the tone and texture of More's original Latin, and its notes and introduction, along with the lively afterward by Jerry Harp, graciously supply exactly the kinds of help a modern reader might desire."-David Scott Kastan, Yale University

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19522-4
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
    (pp. vii-xxiv)

    The circumstances under which More composedUtopia,as he recounts them in the opening of the book, give us some clues about one of its central issues: public service versus contemplative withdrawal. More was a busy London lawyer in the service of Henry VIII on a trade commission negotiating in the spring and early summer of 1515 in Bruges. In the midst of this activity came three months of leisure from late July to late October; the negotiations were interrupted because the Flemish ambassadors had to return to consult with their prince. Released from business and public service, More had...

    (pp. xxv-xxviii)
    • Thomas More to Peter Giles, Greetings
      (pp. 3-8)

      I am almost ashamed, my dear Peter Giles,⁴ to have delayed for almost a year in sending you this little book about the Utopian⁵ commonwealth, which I’m sure you expected within six weeks.⁶ You knew, after all, that I was spared the labor of finding my matter, and did not have to give any thought to its arrangement; all I had to do was repeat what you and I heard Raphael⁷ say. For that reason there was no need to strive for eloquence,⁸ since his language could hardly be polished, first because it was informal and extemporaneous, and also because...

    • BOOK 1
      (pp. 9-50)

      Recently the invincible king of England,²¹ Henry the eighth of that name, who is lavishly endowed with all skills necessary for an outstanding ruler, had some matters of no small moment²² which had to be worked out with Charles, the most serene prince of Castile.²³ To discuss and resolve these differences he sent me to Flanders as his ambassador; I was the companion and colleague of the incomparable Cuthbert Tunstall, whom he recently appointed to be Master of the Rolls, to the enormous satisfaction of everyone.²⁴ I will say nothing in his praise, not because I am afraid that my...

    • BOOK 2
      (pp. 51-136)

      The island of the Utopians is two hundred miles across in the middle, where it is widest, and throughout most of the island it is not much narrower, but toward both ends it narrows a bit. These ends, curling around into a circle with a circumference of five hundred miles, make the whole island look like a new moon. The sea flows in between the horns through a strait about eleven miles wide and then spreads out into a huge empty space protected from the wind on all sides, like an enormous, smooth, unruffled lake; thus almost the whole inner...

    • Thomas More to His Friend Peter Giles, Warmest Greetings
      (pp. 137-140)

      My dear Peter, I was thoroughly delighted with the judgment you know about, delivered by that very sharp fellow in the form of a dilemma directed against myUtopia:if the story is being presented as true, I find some things in it rather absurd; if it is a fiction, then I think that More’s usual good judgment is lacking on some points. I am very grateful to this man, my dear Peter, whoever he may be, who I suspect is learned and whom I see as a friendly critic. I do not know whether any other critique since the...

    (pp. 141-160)

    Poet, translator, lawyer, statesman, social philosopher, martyr, and (as of 1935) canonized saint, Thomas More remains—in his friend Erasmus’s phrase—a “man for all seasons,” one who in his integrity is suited to all occasions.¹ He was formed to no small degree by the cultural movement known as Renaissance humanism, with its emphases on the study of ancient texts, the deepening of a historical sense, the cultivation of the art of rhetoric, and devotion to active service in the world. The terms “Renaissance” and “humanism” come trailing clouds of ambiguity, so some sorting of their meaning is in order....

  7. NOTES
    (pp. 161-188)
    (pp. 189-194)
  9. INDEX
    (pp. 195-201)