What were the literary influences for Thomas More's Utopia, and what influence, in turn, did the work have on later literature?
Posted on September 16, by nikoblock Thomas More was known first and foremost as a statesman, a humanist thinker, and a Catholic martyr throughout much of modern history.
It was only in the late nineteenth century, as utopian thinking came to dominate the western zeitgeist to an unprecedented extent, that his historical image was primarily identified with his tract known today as Utopia. Throughout the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, both Britain and the continent saw the creation and consolidation of the public sphere through the book industry as well as newspapers, journals, and magazines.
At the same time, European thought was modernizing, increasingly viewing humans themselves and their institutions — as opposed to the will of God — as active agents in history-making. This latter trend reached a sort of apotheosis in the late nineteenth century, with the visionary utopian literature of H.
This paper begins with the problem of interpretation, illuminating how Utopia has been perceived through the ages, paying attention in particular to the question of citizenship, duty, and social change.
Here, the contradictions and paradoxical aspects of the book will come sharply into focus: Did he conceive of utopia as an end-point of social progress, as the Victorians later did? Or was it merely a meditation on societal power structures and the state?
Throughout the dialogue, Hythloday undoubtedly presents us with an idealized vision of a modern civilization — one that in many respects was more modern than England at the time. But certain tenets of Utopian society — its religious diversity, for instance — are directly at odds with those that More espoused throughout his professional years.
In this sense, the reading of Utopia as a kind of thought experiment by Elisabeth Hansot and several other scholars goes far in reconciling these contradictions. The most important teleological implication that is made by the book, however, is its suggestion that institutions of the modern state are capable of having a broad and significant impact in shaping the dynamics of society towards a system of moral justice.
Utopia thus holds a status that is extremely unique in sixteenth-century literature. Of central importance here is the secularism of the book. It marks a significant break from tradition in the history of European moral thought in that it presented an idealized world that was neither Edenic nor millenarian, but based upon a positivist understanding of social power and utility.
In effect Utopia affords a new kind of take-off point for criticism of existing society, for criticism based no on the provisional acceptance of the fundamental institutions of that society, but on a rejection of many of those institutions. To the best of my knowledge such a take-off point had never existed before in the history of the Western World.
Seventeenth-century Renaissance thinkers such as Francis Bacon and Thomas Campanella certainly owed a debt to More, but it was not until the nineteenth century that Utopia, and perhaps utopianism, started to have an identifiable relationship to active political movements.
As the historical relevance of More the statesman has declined, the importance of More the utopianist author has simultaneously grown. In some ways, this signifies an abandonment of the author in favour of the book. Thomas More emerged from the growing demographic of middle-class professionals in late fifteenth-century London.
Born in as the son of a prominent lawyer and judge, More was educated at St. Beyond the emergence of humanist thought, the most important political circumstance surrounding More in his time was the slow collapse of the feudal economy alongside a rising capitalist one — especially in rural areas, where a private wool industry was gaining control of growing tracts of land, thus dispossessing their previous peasant occupants, who in turn came to London to join the ranks of the urban poor.
The growth of British towns during this time period had created a sizable market for commodities such as corn, meat, dairy, wool, wood, and so on. The generation of surplus from this land, the monetization of its product, and the early implementation of industrial-style labour meant that fewer peasants were desired to live on that land.
Its purpose was no longer to simply sustain the population. The nobility and gentry, yes, and even some abbots — holy men — are not content with the old rents that the land yielded to their predecessors.
Living in idleness and luxury, without doing any good to society, no longer satisfies them; they have to do positive evil. The tenants are dismissed and compelled, by trickery or brute force or constant harassment, to sell their belongings. By hook or by crook these miserable people…are forced to move out.
And yet if they go tramping, they are jailed as study beggars. They would be glad to work, but they can find no one who will hire them. The problems associated with the rise of bourgeois and proletarian class mark an important break from the static nature of medieval social relations, which itself was associated with medieval modes of thinking that did not explicitly favour or address social change, idolized the Church, and constructed vague theological narratives of humanity, focusing primarily of course on the Fall of Man and the Second Coming of Christ.
Having led them to settle a peninsula somewhere on the coast, Utopus ordered that a giant moat be dug, separating their land from the mainland, thus creating a space of segregation that facilitated their construction of a perfect society.
Though it is true that this narrative bears some parallels to that of the Promised Land, it is also a significant break from the medieval views maintained by Martin Luther, Augustine, and Aquinas. The barbarian rejects as harsh whatever is not positively barbarian.Monasticism and Works of Literature as the Sources of Inspiration of Thomas More’s Utopia ( words, 4 pages) Mores InspirationThomas Mores Utopia depicts a .
Utopia study guide contains a biography of Sir Thomas More, literature essays, a complete e-text, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a .
TWO UTOPIAS: A COMPARISON OF THE REPU~LIC OF PLATO AND ST. THO~~S MORE'S UTOPIA Charles August Weisgerber, S.J., A.B. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts in Loyola University. August, Utopia by Thomas More Essays.
The Perfect Society in Utopia, a Book by Thomas More. 1, words. 4 pages. Monasticism and Works of Literature as the Sources of Inspiration of Thomas More's Utopia.
4 pages. The Impact of the Literary Works of the Real Renaissance Man, Thomas . As a writer Sir Saint Thomas More is famous for his book Utopia that paved way for the Utopian literature. It was published in It was published in In the novel a traveler Raphael describes an imaginary country on an island, Utopia.
Scholarly and literary work History of King Richard III Between foreseen as far back as Thomas More, in his Utopia". Primary sources. More, Thomas (–), Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St.
Thomas More, New Haven and London Amazon links.