More's Utopia

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"Utopia" has a strong claim to be the most misunderstood book ever written; its name has been hijacked by countless idealistic schemes having little in common with More's own assessment of social possibilities. For although it contributes to a line of argument that can be traced from Plato to Marx, "Utopia" is first and foremost a literary work that appeals to the imagination and seeks to question us rather than to proffer answers.

This study prepares the reader for these challenges, placing the work in the context of early sixteenth-century Europe and the intellectual preoccupations of More's own humanist circle, and clarifying those sources in classical and Christian political thought that provoked his writing.

"Utopia" is presented as a penetrating reflection on political idealism, one that has lost none of its relevance in an age that has witnessed the collapse of Marxists aspirations to social control. Dominic Baker-Smith also surveys the varied critical reception accorded to "Utopia" over the last four centuries, providing an intriguing look at "Utopia's" role in cultural history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802083760
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 8/28/2000
  • Series: RSART: Renaissance Society of America Reprint Text Series , #11
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 1,153,143
  • Product dimensions: 5.53 (w) x 8.46 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Dominic Baker-Smith is a professor emeritus of English Literature at the University of Amsterdam.
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Table of Contents

Texts and abbreviations
1 Origins 1
2 'The sceptre of the rulers' 23
3 Platonic Satire 38
4 The Sanction of Custom 56
5 Narrative Credentials 75
6 The Dialogue of Counsel 104
7 The Best State of a Commonwealth? 151
8 Words and Deeds 201
9 In Search of Utopia 228
Bibliography 245
Index 261
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