Erasmus: In Praise of Folly
Descartes: Meditations on First Philosophy

Thomas More: Utopia

UtopiaUtopia by Thomas More inaugurated a new literary genre on its first publication in Latin at Louvain, Belgium in 1516. It's title, from a Greek term meaning 'nowhere', has become the established term for any imaginary, ideal Commonwealth.

Utopia took inspiration from the voyages of discovery of More's own day, being ostensibly the account of Raphael Hythloday, a traveller with Amerigo Vespucci. In book 1, Hythloday and More discuss the role of the philosopher in civic life, touching on many of the ills of contemporary Europe. Hythloday introduces his account of the idealised society he encountered on the island of Utopia in book 2. The Utopian system of common property contrasts sharply with the enclosures then underway in contemporary England, and the sharpness of the book's satire may have contributed to its publication on the continent, under the editorship of Erasmus.

Utopia at Amazon: United States | Canada | United Kingdom | France | Germany | Spain | Italy

Free online texts

Bartleby: Utopia - Harvard Classics, Vol. 36, Part 3. HTML format.

Gutenberg: Utopia. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Utopia, Robinson translation and Latin text (1895). Multiple formats. Utopia. 1901 Cassell & Co. edition. HTML format.

Online Library of Liberty: Ideal Empires and Republics. Rousseau’s Social Contract, More’s Utopia, Bacon’s New Atlantis, Campanella’s City of the Sun, with an Introduction by Charles M. Andrews (1901). Multiple formats.

Open Utopia - 2016 translation, including letters, commendations and marginalia, with Creative Commons license. Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): Utopia. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Latin text and English translation by Gilbert Burnet (1901). HTML format.

Audio-visual resources

BBC The Forum: Thomas More's Utopia - podcast with Bridget Kendall, Rik Torfs, ,Fátima Vieira and Dilar Dirik.

BBC The Forum: Utopia - Mr More’s Wondrous Islands - podcast featuring short stories inspired by Utopia, from writers Rebecca F. John, Jose Pablo Salas and Lea Sauer.

BBC The Forum: Cali-topia: a New Vision of Thomas More's Utopia? - podcast with Jack Stewart, Paul Saffo, Ryan Mullenix, Krista Donaldson and Colin Milburn.

Librivox: Public domain audiobooks of Burnet and Robinson translations.

Other Resources

BBC Arts: Did Thomas More’s Utopia really predict the future? by William Cook, 8 November 2016.

BBC Culture: How Utopia Shaped the World, by Tom Hodgkinson.

British Library: Learning English Timeline - Thomas More's Utopia.

Early Modern Literary Studies: A Bibliography of Thomas More's Utopia, by Romuald Ian Lakowski.

Frieze: The Closed Cosmogony of Utopia, by Carol Mavor, 8 September 2016.

The Guardian: Utopias, past and present: why Thomas More remains astonishingly radical, by Terry Eagleton. 16 October 2015.

Inside Higher Ed: Back from Utopia, by Scott McLernee, 2 November 2016.

LSE: Hardship and shame - what Thomas More’s Utopia can teach us about modern social security, by John Hills. 22 February 2016. Foreword to Thomas More's Utopia, by William Morris (1893). Thomas More and his Utopia, by Karl Kautsky (1888).

Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Thomas More.

Sydney Morning Herald: 500 years after Sir Thomas More's Utopia, what have we learned? by Desmond Manderson, 21 March 2017.

University of Dallas: The Center for Thomas More Studies

Wikipedia: Utopia (book)

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Plato: Republic - Critias - The Laws

Cicero: On Duties - an influential account of property rights.

Seneca: De Otio - describes the ideal state as 'no place' (Latin: numquam).

Amerigo Vespucci: Four Voyages

Francis Bacon: New Atlantis

Tommaso Campanella: The City of the Sun

Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe

Jonathan Swift: Gulliver's Travels.

John Aubrey: Brief Lives- includes a life of More.

Latin Resources: Online materials for learning Latin.

Bloom's Western Canon: Utopia is listed.


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