“Clarence H. Miller’s fine translation tracks the supple variations of More’s Latin with unmatched precision, and his Introduction and notes are masterly. Jerry Harp’s new Afterword adroitly places More’s wonderful little book into its broader contexts in intellectual history.”—George M. Logan, author of The Meaning of More’s “Utopia”
“Sir Thomas More's Utopia is not merely one of the foundational texts of western culture, but also a book whose most fundamental concerns are as urgent now as they were in 1516 when it was written. Clarence H. Miller's wonderful translation of More's classic is now happily once again available to readers. This is the English edition that best captures the tone and texture of More's original Latin, and its notes and introduction, along with the lively afterward by Jerry Harp, graciously supply exactly the kinds of help a modern reader might desire.”—David Scott Kastan, Yale University
There is no private property on Utopia, with goods being stored in warehouses and people requesting what they need. There are also no locks on the doors of the houses, which are rotated between the citizens every ten years. Agriculture is the most important job on the island. Every person is taught it and must live in the countryside, farming for two years at a time, with women doing the same work as men. Parallel to this, every citizen must learn at least one of the other essential trades: weaving (mainly done by the women), carpentry, metalsmithing and masonry. There is deliberate simplicity about these trades; for instance, all people wear the same types of simple clothes and there are no dressmakers making fine apparel. All able-bodied citizens must work; thus unemployment is eradicated, and the length of the working day can be minimised: the people only have to work six hours a day (although many willingly work for longer). More does allow scholars in his society to become the ruling officials or priests, people picked during their primary education for their ability to learn. All other citizens are however encouraged to apply themselves to learning in their leisure time.
Slavery is a feature of Utopian life and it is reported that every household has two slaves. The slaves are either from other countries or are the Utopian criminals. These criminals are weighed down with chains made out of gold. The gold is part of the community wealth of the country, and fettering criminals with it or using it for shameful things like chamber pots gives the citizens a healthy dislike of it. It also makes it difficult to steal as it is in plain view. The wealth, though, is of little importance and is only good for buying commodities from foreign nations or bribing these nations to fight each other. Slaves are periodically released for good behaviour. Jewels are worn by children, who finally give them up as they mature.
Other significant innovations of Utopia include: a welfare state with free hospitals, euthanasia permissible by the state, priests being allowed to marry, divorce permitted, premarital sex punished by a lifetime of enforced celibacy and adultery being punished by enslavement. Meals are taken in community dining halls and the job of feeding the population is given to a different household in turn. Although all are fed the same, Raphael explains that the old and the administrators are given the best of the food. Travel on the island is only permitted with an internal passport and any people found without a passport are, on a first occasion, returned in disgrace, but after a second offence they are placed in slavery. In addition, there are no lawyers and the law is made deliberately simple, as all should understand it.
George M. Logan has produced a scholarly yet accessible edition of the History, designed to make More's exhilarating work fully accessible to 21st-century readers. More's text is presented here with modern English spelling and punctuation, and with full annotation of linguistic difficulties and the historical background. The text is preceded by a general introduction, a chronology, and suggestions for further reading. An appendix reprints passages from key sources and analogues, enabling the reader to see how More worked with his English sources and classical models, and finally how Shakespeare worked with More.
A Prayer of St. Thomas More includes reading of the eponymous prayer followed by beautiful piano music based on original composition of Frederic Chopin.
iano composition includes: Nocturne in G Minor, Op. 37 No. 1 — Andante sostenuto.
The atmospheric church middle sections of this nocturne are considered to be some of the most exquisite chord transitions ever composed. Minimalist simplicity of opening and ending enhances the religious core of this piece. Also known as Les soupirs, this nocturne's intermezzo in plain chordal writing brings peace and clarity of thought.
Performed by Anton Kingsbury.
Interactive Media audio production.