Subtitled "On the best state of a republic and on the new island of
Utopia," this is the legendary 1516 political satire that, in its
attempts to mock the English king Henry VIII, gave birth to an
entire genre of imaginative fiction exploring the possibilities of
the "perfect" society. Debate continues to rage among scholars of
the Renaissance today whether More actually believed in the
socialist, equalitarian concepts he espoused in *Utopia,* some of
which seem unlikely positions for a wealthy, powerful man whose
actions as a public figure were often at odds with them. But this
remains a foundational work of Western thought and literature, and
essential reading for anyone who wishes to be considered well read.
English statesman and writer SIR THOMAS MORE (1478-1535) is best
remembered as both a humanist scholar and a religious martyr: he
was beheaded by King Henry VIII for refusing to acknowledge the
monarch as the head of the Church of England.
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