English Literature

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.

More's Utopia took inspiration from the voyages of discovery of his 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. In book 2 before 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.

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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.

Marxists.org: 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: Utopia. Multiple formats.

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

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Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan

Leviathan_by_Thomas_HobbesLeviathan by Thomas Hobbes is one of the outstanding works of political theory in the English language. It develops an early social contract theory to argue that human beings must put themselves under a single absolute sovereign as the only way out of a state of nature in which life is famously said to be 'nasty, brutish and short'.

For much of Hobbes' life such an argument would have been seen as favourable to the Stuart monarchy. By the time of Leviathan's publication in 1651, however, it could be read as supporting the effective authority of Cromwell's Commonwealth. Hobbes was acordingly repudiated by former associates among the exiled royalist court in Paris.

His time in France was nevertheless fruitful through associations with the leading philosophers and scientists of the day. This is reflected in the mechanical philosophy of the opening pages of Leviathan, in which living things are compared to automata, and the state to an artificial man, a figure memorably illustrated in the book's original frontispiece.

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Early Modern Texts: Leviathan, adapted and translated into modern English, by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format.

Gutenberg: Leviathan. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: Hobbes's Leviathan, edited by W.G. Pogson Smith (1909). Multiple formats.

Online Library of Liberty: Leviathan, edited by W.G. Pogson Smith (1909). Multiple formats.

Marxists.org: Leviathan (first five chapters) - from the Cambridge Revised Student Edition, Edited by Richard Tuck, 1996. HTML format.

University of Adelaide: Leviathan. Multiple formats.

Wikisource: Leviathan. HTML and other formats.

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Francis Bacon: Essays

Francis_Bacon _Viscount_St_Alban_from_NPGThe Essays by Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) were the first published work of the English statesman and thinker, appearing in 1597, with revised and expanded editions in 1612 and 1625. In introducing the essay format by pioneered by Montaigne to English, Bacon gave the genre a pointed, business-like concision, perhaps more reminiscent of Machiavelli. In this he was aided by a talent for the telling aphorism that has left a permanent mark on the language.

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Bartleby: Essays, Civil and Moral. Harvard Classics edition. HTML format.

Francis Bacon Online: The Essays. HTML format.

Gutenberg: The Essays or Counsels, Civil and Moral. Multiple formats. 

Internet Archive: The essaies of Sr. Francis Bacon. 1613 edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, or Counsels Civil and Moral, edited by A.S. Gaye (1911). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Bacon's Essays, edited by Sydney Humphries (1912). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Essays, Civil and Moral and The New Atlantis, by Francis Bacon; Areopagitica and Tractate on Education by John Milton; Religio Medici, by Sir Thomas Brown, edited by Charles W. Eliot (1912). Harvard Classics edition. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: The Essays, Colours Of Good And Evil, Advancement Of Learning, edited by A.W. Pollard (1920). Multiple formats.

University of Adelaide: The Essays, Multiple formats.

Wikisource: The Essays of Francis Bacon, edited by Mary Augusta Scott (1908). HTML and other formats.

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Beowulf

Beowulf fighting the Dragon. Marshall, Henrietta Elizabeth (1908) Stories of Beowulf, T.C. & E.C. Jack. Via Wikimedia Commons.Beowulf is an Old English epic poem. While the only surviving manuscript is thought to date to around 1000 CE, the narrative reflects conditions in the continental homeland of the Anglo-Saxons during the Sixth Century.

The hero, Beowulf, is a prince of the Geats, a people based in Modern Sweden. He travels to Heorot, court of King Hrothgar of the Danes to fight the monster Grendel, and Grendel's mother. Later, as King of the Geats, he is killed in a final mortal struggle with a dragon.

The relationship between the pagan and Christian elements in Beowulf has been the subject of much debate, often bound up with questions about the role of oral and literary composition in its creation. The poem continues to spark much scholarly and popular interest, sustained by feature films and high-profile translations such as those by J.R.R. Tolkien and Seamus Heaney.

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British Library: Beowulf - digitised Old English manuscript.

British Library/University of Kentucky: Electronic Beowulf. Browse the original Old English manuscript and multiple transcriptions online.

Gutenberg: Beowulf, modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910).  Multiple formats.

Gutenberg: Beowulf, modern English translation by J. Lesslie Hall. Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf with the Finnsburgh Fragment, Old English text, edited by A.J Wyatt, revised by R.W. Chambers (1914). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, Old English text, edited by Walter John Sedgefield (1913). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, translated by Chauncey Brewster Tinker (1912). Multiple formats.

Internet Archive: Beowulf, translated by Clarence Griffin Child (2000). Multiple formats.

McMaster University: Beowulf in Hypertext - Old English text and modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910).

Poetry Foundation: Beowulf - modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910). HTML format.

Sacred texts: Beowulf - Old English | Modern English translation by Francis B. Gummere (1910) | The Story of Beowulf, retelling by Strafford Riggs (1933).

University of Adelaide: Beowulf, modern English translation by  Francis B. Gummere (1910). Multiple formats.

University of Cambridge Digital Library: Beowulf, verse translation by William Morris (1898).  Digital manuscript image.

Wikisource: Beowulf - Old English editions and modern English translations. HTML format.

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