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Author photo. Portrait by Hans Holbein, 1527,<br> Frick Collection, New York<br> (Yorck Project)

Portrait by Hans Holbein, 1527,
Frick Collection, New York
(Yorck Project)

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Born in London, the son of a judge, More became an important statesman and scholar. He was also one of the most eminent humanists of the Renaissance. Educated at Oxford, More became an under-sheriff of London and, later, a member of Parliament. Under King Henry VIII he served as Treasurer of the Exchequer, speaker of the House of Commons, and, finally, Lord Chancellor. More is probably best known for his Utopia, which was written in Latin (then the language of literary and intellectual Europe). It was translated into English in 1551. As the first part of this small masterpiece indicates, when More was weighing the offer to be an adviser to Henry VIII he was well aware of the compromises, bitterness, and frustration that such an office involved. In the second part, More develops his famous utopia---a Greek word punning on the meanings "a good place" and "no place"---a religious, communistic society where the common ownership of goods, obligatory work for everyone, and the regular life of all before the eyes of all ensure that one's baser nature will remain under control. Inspired by Plato's (see Vols. 3 and 4) Republic, More's Utopia became in turn the urbane legacy of the humanistic movement (in which More's friends were most notably Erasmus (see Vol. 4), John Colet, and William Grocyn) to succeeding ages. More also wrote a history, Richard III, which, if arguably the first instance of modern historiography in its attention to character and its departure from chronicle, is also, in its responsiveness to the Tudor polemic of divine rights, largely responsible for the notorious reputation of Richard as an evil ruler. More's refusal to recognize Henry VIII as Head of the Church led to a sentence of high treason. Imprisoned for more than a year, he was finally beheaded. Eventually, More was granted sainthood. (Bowker Author Biography) — biography from Utopia… (more)
Utopia 11,172 copies, 109 reviews
Utopia (Norton Critical Editions) 719 copies, 4 reviews
Utopia: Thomas More 482 copies, 4 reviews
Utopia and A Dialogue of Comfort 107 copies, 3 reviews
The Last Letters of Thomas More 97 copies, 2 reviews
History of King Richard III 81 copies, 2 reviews
The Essential Thomas More 42 copies, 1 review
Ideal Commonwealths (Contributor) 39 copies
Three Renaissance Classics 38 copies, 1 review
Vagamundo (Author) 33 copies, 1 review
The Life of Pico 9 copies, 2 reviews
Epigramas 4 copies
Utopia 2 copies
LA AGONIA DE CRISTO 1 copy, 1 review
Lettere 1 copy
Ütopya 1 copy
The Penguin Book of Renaissance Verse: 1509-1659 (Contributor) 273 copies, 1 review
A Man of Singular Virtue (Contributor) 175 copies, 2 reviews
The Utopia Reader (Contributor) 104 copies, 1 review
Dystopia Utopia: Short Stories (Contributor) 103 copies
Meeting of Minds: First Series (Subject) 51 copies, 2 reviews
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Short biography
Sir Thomas More (7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in the Catholic Church as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He also served Henry VIII as Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to May 1532. He wrote Utopia, published in 1516, about the political system of an imaginary island state.

More opposed the Protestant Reformation, directing polemics against the theology of Martin Luther, Huldrych Zwingli, John Calvin and William Tyndale. More also opposed Henry VIII's separation from the Catholic Church, refusing to acknowledge Henry as supreme head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. After refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was convicted of treason and executed. On his execution, he was reported to have said: "I die the King's good servant, and God's first".

Pope Pius XI canonised More in 1935 as a martyr. Pope John Paul II in 2000 declared him the patron saint of statesmen and politicians. The Soviet Union in the early twentieth century honoured him for the purportedly communist attitude toward property rights in Utopia.
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