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Utopia (Penguin Classics) by Thomas More
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Utopia (Penguin Classics) (original 1516; edition 2012)

by Thomas More, Dominic Baker-Smith (Translator), Dominic Baker-Smith (Introduction)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,01648515 (3.55)2 / 150
Member:Byenia
Title:Utopia (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Thomas More
Other authors:Dominic Baker-Smith (Translator), Dominic Baker-Smith (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2012), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:classic, fiction

Work details

Utopia by Thomas More (1516)

  1. 70
    The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli (2below)
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English (38)  Dutch (3)  French (3)  Hungarian (2)  Italian (1)  All languages (47)
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The work begins with written correspondence between Thomas More and several people he had met on the continent: Peter Giles, town clerk of Antwerp, and Jerome Busleiden, counselor to Charles V. More chose these letters, which are communications between actual people, to further the plausibility of his fictional land. In the same spirit, these letters also include a specimen of the Utopian alphabet and its poetry. It is a great book that allows one to think about human nature. Utopia itself is an imaginary place that is nonexistent. Many have wondered over the years why More even wrote it. I forces one to consider that if the government of a place allows circumstances to occur that remove mans ability to take care of basic needs on a just and right way, should they be punished when they achieve it by breaking their laws? ( )
  jesssika | Sep 9, 2014 |
Bem-vindos à Thomasmorelândia! ( )
  henrique.maia | Aug 3, 2014 |
Realmente hace mucho tiempo que quería leer este libro, y hacia meses que lo había comprado pero no empezaba a leerlo, hace poco lo empecé la verdad es que me gusto mucho lo que he leído, sobre todo la edición que compre porque es de una editora española, y tiene el comentario de un profesor de una universidad donde hace un recuento histórico de la vida del Sr. Moro, por lo que pude tener una mejor perspectiva de por qué el escribió dicha obra, y bajo cuales circunstancias el estaba viviendo en ese periodo histórico.

El termino de utopía desde que lo conocí, empecé a acunarlo en mi lenguaje, puesto que vivo en un país, el cual quisiera algún día fuera de una forma que ahora nos parece en verdad una utopía para los dominicanos, pero que en realidad no lo es, porque si puede alcanzarse, solo que en el momento para la mentalidad de mi pueblo se ve como eso, una utopía.

Utopía, diría que es un libro para personas sonadoras, como yo y como lo fue el Sr. Moro, este libro nos da la perspectiva de la imaginación creativa, donde podemos inventar en nuestras mentes un mundo, donde todo no necesariamente deba de ser perfecto pero que es sumamente elevado lo que se quiere conseguir, yo pienso que sí, que podemos alcanzar una utopía, creo que no en una nación, pero si en nosotros como personas. Estén de acuerdo conmigo o no, no es problema, solo que podemos las personas luchar por obtener una utopía, si en verdad nos lo propusiéramos.
me gustaron estas frases. Si no conseguís realizar todo el bien, vuestros esfuerzos disminuirán por lo menos la intensidad del mal. No sé si decir mentiras es propio de un filósofo, pero ciertamente no lo es en mí. Pág. 78


( )
  Pamelangeles | Jul 3, 2014 |
I had no idea this would be such a timeless examination of society and it's construct. Sir More's exploration of the idealic world, where there is no want and harmony reigns supreme, is fascinating how it exemplifies aspects of all government systems.

One theme that weaves all facets of Utopian society is the "permission" needed from those who seek it elected. Essentially travel, food, profession, and marriage/divorce require approbation from leaders.

It was honestly an interesting read, and surprisingly fast for being classic philosophic literature, but it's fantastical and to-good-to-be-true coordinated society will always be desired but never attained. It is a unreachable goal because of one thing: human nature.
  HistReader | May 16, 2014 |
Utopia is simply one of the most important and influential books ever written. Its ideas were then (and for the most part still are) so revolutionary that it can be difficult to believe a man with Thomas More's subsequent history even intended them to be taken seriously.

More wrote Utopia in Latin, the language most widely read at the time by educated persons in Europe. It is also a language independent of place and time, which translator Paul Turner says is ample justification for using informal contemporary English in his translation. The result is highly readable and entertaining, but no less thought-provoking.

The structure of the novel has More himself recounting a conversation he had with a traveler named Raphael who had spent five years living in Utopia, an island roughly 200 miles in diameter located somewhere in the New World. More has all the opinions and observations come from Raphael's mouth rather than his own, obviously to protect himself from being charged with promoting seditious ideas. But while Utopia does satirize a few of Europe's governments and institutions, it is not an attack on any particular person or country, and this is what has kept it relevant over the centuries.

The most radical and most important feature of Utopia is that there is no private property and therefore no need for money. People dress identically and live in identical houses in identical towns. They each work at the trade for which they are best suited, usually the same as their parents. Families are sent in rotation to work on farms, the assumption being that farm work is less pleasant and should be shared by all. Military training is compulsory for both sexes, and the entire town is turned out from time to time for major projects such as roads, bridges, and fortifications. Slavery exists, but only as a form of punishment for serious crimes. All children are born free and equal and raised in identical circumstances.

With no need for luxury goods and no idle classes, productivity is so high that Utopians need work only six hours a day. The rest of the time is devoted to self improvement and recreations such as music. Utopians do their work gladly, for the most part, out of community spirit. But those who might otherwise slack off know that "Everyone has his eye on you, so you're practically forced to get on with your job, and make some proper use of your spare time." Goods are taken to markets and storehouses where anyone who needs something just helps himself. Meals are served in communal halls where the elders are served first out of respect.

There is freedom of religion in Utopia, at least to a point. Citizens are expected to believe in a creator and an afterlife and to attend religious services, but there is no official dogma, and sects are allowed to follow their own beliefs and practices as long as they don't proselytize in public. Atheists are tolerated, but they are considered contemptible and are barred from positions of public trust. That Thomas More would write something advocating religious toleration has always been puzzling, since he later ordered heretics burned at the stake and gave his own life in defense of the supremacy of the Catholic Church. More also mortified his own flesh by wearing a hair shirt despite having written in Utopia that it was as important to be kind to yourself as it was to be kind to others, and that it was ridiculous to suffer unnecessarily.

Women in Utopia are subordinate at all times to their husbands, but may serve in the military and even as priests (provided they are widows). Their role in political life isn't addressed. Considering how revolutionary Utopia is in other respects, it is strangely conventional in sexual matters--probably reflecting More's own prudery. Marriage is for life except in rare circumstances, and any sex before or outside of marriage is severely punished, sometimes by enslavement or death. In a country where there is no private property and therefore no inheritance and no need to worry about legitimacy, where the pursuit of pleasure is considered a laudable goal, and where children are moved from one household to another to learn different trades, such rigid insistence on monogamy seems out of place.

There is much more in Utopia on such things as foreign trade, warfare, education, medicine, aging and city planning. But what comes across most forcefully is the evil of the inequitable distribution of resources which is inevitable in a capitalist economy. The Utopians found one way to address this, a communist solution which many have since tried to emulate, at least in part. ( )
3 vote StevenTX | Sep 13, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (138 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Thomas Moreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Black, Walter J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
del Pozo, Joan ManuelTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Donnelly, John PatrickTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fiore, TommasoEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Itkonen-Kaila, MarjaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Marshall, Peter K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prechtl, Michael MathiasIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rodríguez Santidrián, PedroEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott, John AnthonyIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sheehan, John F. X.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Turner, PaulTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
van Cleve, Hendrick, IIICover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There was recently a rather serious difference of opinion between that great expert in the art of government, His Invincible Majesty, King Henry the Eighth of England, and His Serene Highness, Prince Charles of Castile.
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The moment we showed them [the Utopians] some books that Aldus had printed, and talked a bit about printing and paper-making -- we couldn't explain them properly, as none of us knew much about either process -- they immediately made a shrewd guess how the things were done. Up till then they'd only produced skin, bark, or papyrus manuscripts, but now they instantly started to manufacture paper, and print from type. At first they weren't too successful, but after repeated experiments they soon mastered both techniques so thoroughly that, if it weren't for the shortage of original texts, they could have had all the Greek books they wanted.
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Book description
Cover description: Sir Thomas More's entertaining description of Utopia, an island supporting a perfectly organized and happy people, was a best-seller when it first appeared in Latin in 1516. This work of a Catholic martyr has later been seen as the source of Anabaptism, Mormonism, and even Communism. Utopia revolutionized Plato's classical blueprint of the perfect republic, mainly by its realism. Locating his island in the (then) New World, More endowed it with a language and poetry, and detailed the length of the working day and even the divorce laws. Such precision gives a disturbing and exciting impact to Utopia, which still remains a book of the future.
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In Utopia Thomas More painted a fantastical picture of a distant island where society is perfected and people live in harmony, yet its title means 'no place', and More's hugely influential work was ultimately an attack on his own corrupt, dangerous times, and on the failings of humanity.… (more)

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3 editions of this book were published by Yale University Press.

Editions: 0300084293, 0300002386, 0300084285

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2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141043695, 0141442328

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