In Thomas More’s hugely influential Utopia, a traveller recounts his discovery of an island nation in which the inhabitants enjoy unprecedented social cohesion and justice. The book imagines a community in which laws, personal relations and professional ambition are based on reason, in contrast with the tradition-bound superstitions of Europe, which were, in More’s eyes, impediments to equality and peaceful coexistence.
One of the indicators of the profound cultural and political influence of More’s masterpiece is today’s common use of the word “Utopia” – a term he invented. This extraordinary treatise on the values of rationality and reason – here presented in a sparkling new translation by Roger Clarke and accompanied by copious notes and additional texts – questions what a philosopher can do to enact change in society, and how idealized visions can inform political practice.
A sparkling new translation by Roger Clarke of one of the most influential philosophical works of all time, which renders the original Latin into an English that is clear, readable and true to the spirit of Thomas More’s writing.
Accompanied by: Biographical notes on contemporary figures and an index explaining More’s Utopian vocabulary; a map of the island of Utopia; correspondence relevant to the text (as well as letters of endorsement and even celebratory verses), written by numerous prominent sixteenth-century European humanists. These letters – presented chronologically and translated from Latin – work in conjunction with the detailed notes on Thomas More’s life, the genesis of Utopia and information about the verse metres employed to offer a unique and fascinating insight into the composition and publication of Utopia, which no student of the text should be without. Moreover, they offer a glimpse not only into the character of More, Erasmus and other members of their circle, but also into the world in which they inhabited.
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