Inspiring, provocative, prophetic, and enigmatic, Utopia is the literary masterpiece of a visionary statesman and one of the most influential books of the modern world.
Based on Thomas More’s penetrating analysis of the folly and tragedy of the politics of his time and all times, Utopia (1516) is a seedbed of alternative political institutions and a perennially challenging exploration of the possibilities and limitations of political action.
This Norton Critical Edition is built on the translation that Robert M. Adams created for it in 1975. For the Third Edition, George M. Logan has carefully revised the translation, improving its accuracy while preserving the grace and verve that have made it the most highly regarded modern rendering of More’s Renaissance Latin work.
“Backgrounds” includes a wide-ranging selection of the major secular and religious texts—from Plato to Amerigo Vespucci—that informed More’s thinking, as well as a selection of the responses to his book by members of his own humanist circle and an account by G. R. Elton of the condition of England at the time More wrote.
“Criticism” now offers a more comprehensive survey of modern scholarship, adding excerpts from seminal books by Frederic Seebohm, Karl Kautsky, and Russell Ames, as well as selections from stimulating and influential recent readings by Dominic Baker-Smith and Eric Nelson. In the final section, on “Utopia’s Modern Progeny,” the opening chapter of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is now complemented by excerpts from another great work in the complex tradition of utopian and dystopian fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Throughout the Third Edition, the editorial apparatus has been thoroughly revised and updated.
An updated Selected Bibliography is also included.
The Text of Utopia
Plato • [The Guardians]
- Ovid • [The Golden Age and After]
- The Acts of the Apostles • [The Community]
Lucian of Samosata • [Saturnʼs Age]
St. Ambrose • [Nabothʼs Vineyard]
St. Benedict • [Monastic Rules]
- Anonymous • From The Land of Cockayne
- Amerigo Vespucci • From The Four Voyages
- The First Voyage
- The Fourth Voyage
- G. R. Elton • [The Problems of the Realm]
The Humanist Circle: Letters
Peter Giles to Jerome Busleyden
Jerome Busleyden to Thomas More
Guillaume Budé to Thomas Lupset
- Erasmus of Rotterdam to Johann Froben
Thomas More to Peter Giles
Erasmus to Ulrich von Hutten
Frederic Seebohm• [A Satire on Crying Abuses]
Karl Kautsky • From The Roots of Moreʼs Socialism
R. W. Chambers • The Meaning of Utopia
• From Utopia and the Problems of 1516
Russell Ames • [More the Social Critic]
J. H. Hexter • The Roots of Utopia and All Evil
C. S. Lewis • [A Jolly Invention]
Edward L. Surtz • From Humanism and Communism:
Northrop Frye • From Varieties of Literary Utopias
Elizabeth McCutcheon • From Denying the Contrary:
Moreʼs Use of Litotes in the Utopia
Alistair Fox • [An Intricate, Intimate Compromise]
Dominic Baker-Smith • From Words and Deeds
Eric Nelson • From Greek Nonsense in Moreʼs Utopia
Utopiaʼs Modern Progeny
- Aldous Huxley • From Brave New World
- Ursula K. Le Guin • From The Left Hand of Darkness
Suggestions for Further Reading