Utopia: By Sir Thomas More / Edition 1

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The first volume to offer students the original English translation of Utopia with an explanation of its historical and intellectual context, this volume will help students better understand the reception of one of the most influential books in the Western tradition. The volume provides the 1551 Robynson translation, allowing students to experience the text as it was first encountered by sixteenth-century English readers — with the benefit of modernized spelling and extensive annotations, making the text readable for today's students. A detailed introduction discusses the literary and philosophical underpinnings of More's thought while situating the author and his work within the political, economic, and religious contexts of sixteenth-century England. Also included are visual materials from sixteenth-century editions, including woodcuts and the Utopian alphabet.

Since its publication in 1516, Utopia has provoked a hailstorm of debate. The minute details More ascribed to his "perfect world" make Utopia still a work of the future.

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What People Are Saying

Louis Martz
Fluent and highly readable, this new version should be welcomed by all admirers of the Utopia.
— From Yale University
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312101459
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
  • Publication date: 3/28/1999
  • Series: Bedford Cultural Editions Series
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 236
  • Product dimensions: 4.60 (w) x 9.84 (h) x 0.38 (d)

Meet the Author

David Harris Sacks is Professor of History and Humanities at Reed College. His scholarly work focuses on the cultural and social history of medieval and early modern Britain. He is the author of Trade, Society and Politics in Bristol, 1500-1640 (1985), and The Widening Gate: Bristol and the Atlantic Economy, 1450-1700 (1991), which was awarded the John Ben Snow Prize in British History by the North American Conference on British Studies. His current work includes studies in the history of early modern British urban society and culture and of the history of ethical, political, and economic discourse in early modern England focusing on the problem of monopoly and freedom. Sacks has been a fellow of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and was an NEH Long-term fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. During 1998-99, he will be Visiting Professor of History at Yale University.

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Table of Contents


Literary Conventions
Philosophical Convictions

Personal Involvements
Historical Circumstances


The Translator to the Gentle Reader
The Epistle, Thomas More to Peter Giles Sendeth Greeting
The First Book
The Second Book
Letter from Peter Giles to Hierome Buslide
A Meter of Four Verses
A Short Meter of Utopia
Gerard Noviomage of Utopia
Cornelius Graphey to the Reader
The Printer to the Reader

Ralph Robynson's Dedicatory Letter to William Cecil
Selected Bibliography


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