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  1. 1. An introduction to Utopia
  2. 2. The word utopia is a pun in Greek. U-topia = no place/nowhere Eu-topia = good place
  4. 4. • 1492: Christopher Columbus discovers Cuba, Haiti, and Hispaniola • 1502-04: Letters attributed to Amerigo Vespucci publicize his travels to South America • 1516: Utopia published • 1518-20: Hernan Cortes conquers Mexico More wrote Utopia early in the era of European exploration of the Americas.
  5. 5. In 1507, Martin Waldseemüller, a German cartographer, drew the first world map to show the Americas separate from Asia. He named the new continents “America” after the explorer Amerigo Vespucci.
  6. 6. In 1504, Raphael Hythloday supposedly accompanies Vespucci to South America and stays behind to continue his travels. Among the places he visits is the island of Utopia (no place).
  7. 7. What vision of the encounter between Europe and the new world do we get in Utopia? Why does More locate his ideal commonwealth in America?
  8. 8. HUMANISM
  9. 9. “Debate and dialogue, the interplay of contrasting viewpoints are key forms in the repertoire of humanism, and they are basic to More’s achievement as a writer” (xi). Dominic Baker-Smith describes Utopia as a “drama of ideas” (xi).
  10. 10. As a humanist, More studied classical writing. Two Greek writers are particularly important as models or reference points for Utopia: Lucian of Samosata (born c. 120 C.E.), author of satirical essays and dialogues. Plato(born c. 428 B.C.E.), author of The Republic, a philosophical dialogue about an ideal community.
  11. 11. Utopia was originally written in Latin.
  12. 12. “While humanism was intimately bound up with the revival of classical learning and literature, at its centre was a sense of language as a social medium. . . . The humanist appeal to rhetoric, the classical art of persuasion, was based on its ambition to link study and reflection to practical action . . . “ (xvii).
  13. 13. What is the effect of opening Utopia within the world of More’s humanist circle?
  15. 15. Portrait of Sir Thomas More Hans Holbein the Younger, 1527 Oil on oak
  16. 16. Thomas More was active in public life. He served as a member of Parliament, Undersheriff of London, an ambassador to Flanders, privy councilor of Henry VIII, Speaker of the House of Commons, and Lord Chancellor.
  17. 17. Did the humanist critique of human folly have any place at court? Could a philosopher advise a king? Could humanistic study and reflection transform practical life? These were real questions for More when he was writing Utopia in 1515-16, before he took a permanent position as adviser to Henry VIII.
  18. 18. Thomas More opposed the Protestant Reformation. When Henry VIII broke with Rome and established the Anglican church, More refused to take an oath acknowledging the new church’s authority. He was beheaded for treason on July 6, 1535.
  19. 19. William Frederick Yeames, The meeting of Sir Thomas More with his daughter after his sentence of death, 1872
  21. 21. BOOK 2 Report on Utopia BOOK 1 Dialogue: More, Giles, & Hythloday PREFATORY LETTERS
  22. 22. What is the effect of all these frames? Why not just write Book 2?