A fascinating account of one man’s attempt to create a real-life Utopia.
Thomas More's Magician: A Novel Account of Utopia in Mexicoby Toby Green
In September 1532, eleven years after the Spanish conquest, Mexico is in meltdown. As the conquistadors discover an earthly paradise, its peoples and their Gods are destroyed. This is a time of greed, uncertainty - and idealism. Despairing at his surroundings, Vasco de Quiroga - a new member of the Spanish ruling council - forges a commune on Mexico City's outskirts. Indigenous peoples flock there, and soon a new society exists, complete with a welfare system and a hospital. What distinguishes Quiroga's project is that he uses Thomas More's recently published book, Utopia, as his blueprint. This will be the only time a political manifesto is realised until the Russian Revolution. When Quiroga is made bishop of neighbouring Michoacan, he founds another commune. People live according to More's ideals - right down to their clothes. Hounded by enemies, Quiroga remains an ardent utopian until his death in 1565. As the narrator researches Quiroga's biography, he begins to sense an eerie resonance between Quiroga's age and our own. Based on archival research, and rich with vivid reconstructions of 16th-century Spain and Mexico, the narrative becomes a historical account not only of Quiroga's life, but also of utopia as both an idea and a literary form. As political idealism stands on trial, this genre-defying book - part biography, part philosophical history, part satire - examines both its past and what chance there is of it playing any role in the global future.
- Orion Publishing Group, Limited
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.30(d)
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