Five-hundred-year anniversary edition of More's Utopia, with writing from major science fiction writers
Five hundred years since its first publication, Thomas More's Utopia remains astonishingly radical and provocative. More imagines an island nation where thousands live in peace and harmony, men and women are both educated, and property is communal. In a text hovering between fantasy, satire, blueprint and game, More explores the theories and realities behind war, political conflicts, social tensions and redistribution, and imagines the day-to-day lives of a citizenry living free from fear, oppression, violence and suffering.
But there has always been a shadow at the heart of Utopia. If this is a depiction of the perfect state, why, as well as wonder, does it provoke a growing unease?
In this quincentenary edition, published in conjunction with Somerset House, More's text is introduced by multi-award-winning author China Mi ville and accompanied by four essays from Ursula K. Le Guin, today's most distinguished utopian writer and thinker..
Thomas More was born a Londoner in 1477 or 1478. He served as a page, then studied at Oxford, was called to the bar and subsequently had a highly successful career in the City. Sent on an embassy to Flanders in 1515, he began Utopia there and completed it back in London. From 1528 he actively resisted innovation in religious matters and clashed with Henry VIII over his break with the Church. In July 1535, after he refused to accept the royal supremacy over the church, he was tried as a traitor at Westminster Hall and beheaded on Tower Hill. He was canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1935. Dominic Baker-Smith has been a Fellow of Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge; Professor of English at University College, Cardiff; and is now Emeritus Professor at the University of Amsterdam. In addition to various publications on English and Neo-Latin literature he is the author of More's 'Utopia' (1991, 2000) and has edited three volumes in the Toronto Collected Works of Erasmus. He has served as Chairman of the Society for Renaissance Studies and was appointed OBE in 1999.