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3. The Dialogue in Book I of Utopia

Version 1.01 (Aug 1996)

Note: This text is an almost exact copy of Chapter 3, "The Dialogue in Book I of Utopia" from my English Ph.D. dissertation,

The pagination of the original thesis is given in {} brackets, e.g. {77}, but for convenience paragraph numbers have also been added. An extensive bibliography of Utopia was published in EMLS 1.2 (Aug 1995), and partial summary of Utopia is available in separate files (see below). (These were both originally in the Appendices to my thesis.)

In the revised version I have added paragraph numbers, made some changes to the formating of the Table of Contents and the Figures, and added hypertext links to the other chapters of my thesis.

Any comments or queries can be sent to the author at

Romuald (Ronnie) Ian Lakowski

Table of Contents

3. The Dialogue in Book I of Utopia

Summary of Utopia: Books I and Conclusion of II

Bibliography of Thomas More's Utopia (Published in EMLS 1.2)

Return to Thesis Table of Contents

3. The Dialogue in Book I of Utopia

3.1 The Argument of This Chapter

1. {77} The Utopia is an extremely tantalizing, prismatic and elliptical work, that defies simplistic analysis either as a communist tract, a travel story, or a "utopian" pamphlet, even though it gave its name to a genre. The vast literature on Utopianism is largely irrelevant to my study. It is part of my contention that More never set out to create a new genre, and that More's "golden little book" has only superficial resemblances to the typical later exemplars of this genre, and that we seriously misread his text when we view it in the light of the later development and evolution of utopian literature. The work can far more profitably be analysed within the tradition of literary dialogue.

2. The Utopia presents many problems for modern readers, not the least being the question of its structure. It is clear that certain literary conventions underlie the work, including the use of literary dialogue. Though it is true that More does not formally call the Utopia a dialogue, it does follow at least in part a dialogical structure. The dialectical tensions between Hythloday and Persona More are obvious in Book I, and, even though Hythloday is the sole speaker in Book II, the narrative of that book must be judged within the framework provided by the dialogue of Book I and the conclusion of Book II. The debate of Book I is not as peripheral to the narrative of Book II as many scholars make out. Hythloday in Book II often goes out of his way to contrast the customs of the Utopians and their neighbours with those of the European society castigated so strongly by him in Book I.

3. However, in the study presented below I have chosen to deal only with Book I, and have very deliberately avoided commenting on Book II, partly because Book I has been relatively neglected by critics of Utopia, but mainly because my focus is on 'dialogue', and the dialogue in Utopia occurs in Book I. Though it is beyond the scope of this chapter even to begin to deal with Book II in any detail, I would like to very briefly point to the doubly hybrid-nature of {78} Utopia, both in terms of formal structure and of genre. In terms of formal structure Utopia consists of a short "dialogue" in Book I), followed by a longer "oration" in Book II, both of which are in turn framed by a series of introductory letters, maps and commendatory verses (roughly twenty percent of the total text). In terms of genre and literary tradition, Utopia is partly a travel-romance and partly a tract of moral and political philosophy. The very complex interplay between the different literary forms and genres drawn on in the work, as with the History of Richard III, is partly responsible for the tremendous variety of critical responses to More's Utopia over the centuries.

4. The Utopia remains for most readers extremely tantalizing and elusive. It is very difficult to pin the work down, and even when one does so it has a tendency to slip out of one's hands again. There have been many readers over the last five centuries who have tried to read Utopia as a straightforward program for creating an ideal commonwealth. However, the complex ironies of the work discourage such simple-minded, one-dimensional readings of the text. The humanist readers of the early editions were not taken in, since they all shared in the same rhetorical culture as the author, and clearly appreciated the multiple layers of the text. The Utopia was not aimed at a mass audience. Unfortunately, many later readers have lacked the humanistic breadth of its author and first readers, and have ended up debasing the work into a straightforward program.

5. What happens when we take the work as a program is that we miss the element of "make-believe". The Utopia is more than just a jeu d'esprit but it does include a playful element. And yet for all that it is a profoundly serious work, a work meant to provoke thought and reflection. It is primarily important, I believe, for the questions it forces the reader to ask about himself and his own role in society. Is he an idealistic dreamer like Hythloday or does he take a more pragmatic attitude like Persona More or Peter Giles in Book I? The reader is asked to respond to the questions raised by the book. {79}

6. In this study I do not claim to offer a definitive interpretation of the work, even of Book I, but rather by demonstrating the intricate, multi-layered structure of the work as a whole, and in particular of Book I, I intend to show conclusively More's extremely sophisticated practise of the "art of dialogue" in Utopia.


3.2 The Textual History of Utopia

7. The first edition of Utopia was published in December 1516 by Thierry Martens of Louvain. A second edition was published the following year in August 1517 in Paris by Gilles de Gourmont. And a third edition was published in March of 1518 in Basel by John Froben. This edition was in turn reissued by Froben with some minor alterations in November of 1518. The only other edition published in More's lifetime appeared in Florence in July 1519. It follows the edition of March 1518 closely, except that it omits most of the prefatory material found in the 1518 edition.[1] The editors of the Yale edition dismiss it as having "no independent value" (CW 4, p.cxc). There were several other editions published in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, which all follow the readings of the November 1518 edition. The Yale editors chose the March 1518 edition as their base text, on the grounds that it was the last edition likely to contain authorial revisions.

8. More entrusted the publication of Utopia to Erasmus, and to Peter Giles, a town councillor of the city of Antwerp, whom he visited while he was on a trade mission to the Low Countries in 1515, when he was composing Book II of the Utopia, and who also figures as a minor character in Book I.[2] More also addressed the Prefatory Letter of the first edition to Giles, who was particularly involved with the publication of that edition since he also worked as a corrector or copy-editor for the press of Thierry Martens.

9. There have been at least six modern editions of the Latin text of the Utopia. The first was that of J. H. Lupton in 1895, who published the Latin of the March 1518 edition, together with Ralph Robinson's 1551 English translation.[3] His edition has been criticised for {80} paying rather more attention to the English of Robinson's translation than to the original text (cf. CW 4, cxci). For some strange reason Lupton chose to print the English translation at the top of the page with the Latin text underneath it in smaller type, and with the footnotes placed beneath the Latin text in even smaller type, thus making the original text rather difficult to read.

10. In the same year, another edition of the Latin was published in Berlin by Victor Michels and Theobald Ziegler.[4] Michels and Ziegler used the 1516 edition as their base text, but gave variants from other editions, including March 1518. In 1910 a third Latin edition, a reprint of the 1516 text, was published by George Sampson and A. Guthkelch as an appendix to their edition of Ralph Robinson's revised 1556 translation.[5] A fourth critical edition, based on the first three editions, was published by Marie Delcourt in 1936 in Paris.[6]

11. The editions of Lupton and Delcourt were superseded by the edition of E. Surtz and J. H. Hexter, which appeared as Volume 4 of the Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More in 1965, which quickly became the standard critical edition cited by most recent More scholars. The Yale Edition used the March 1518 edition as its copytext, printing the significant variants from the other editions in the critical apparatus. A. E. Barker in his review of the Yale Edition criticised this choice on the grounds that "the evidence for believing that More had any hand at all in the Froben text of 1518 is in fact very weak."[7] However, since both More and Erasmus expressed dissatisfaction with the editions of 1516 and 1517, both of which had numerous printing errors, it seems most reasonable to accept the decision of the Yale editors to use the first 1518 edition, which was rather carefully printed, as copytext. Barker argues that "there is thus no convincing collateral evidence for regarding the 1518 text as having any special authorial [More], as distinct from editorial [Erasmus and Giles], weight."[8] But his arguments are not convincing: More clearly entrusted the work of editing and publishing the Utopia to Erasmus and Giles, {81} though Giles's contribution was limited to the first edition.

12. The sixth modern edition of the Latin text was published by A. Prévost in 1978. It consists of a facsimile reproduction of the November 1518 edition, together with a modern French translation, and a very extensive commentary, that seems to focus mainly on philosophical and theological issues.[9]

13. The first English translation was not published until 1551 (revised 1556) almost twenty years after More's death, by Ralph Robinson. It was so popular that it became a minor English classic in its own right. Robinson omitted all the prefatory material of the early editions, except More's Letter to Giles. As a translation, it was once highly regarded, but in recent years a number of good modern translations of More's Latin text have appeared. The Yale editors revised one of these modern translations, made by G. C. Richards,[10] for inclusion in their edition. While Richards' translation, as revised by Edward Surtz, is a definite improvement over Ralph Robinson's, it was seriously criticised when the Yale edition was first published.[11]


3.3 Genre and Structure

14. Like almost every other feature of More's "golden little book," the genre of More's Utopia is problematic. In terms of formal structure the Utopia is a hybrid work---part literary dialogue and part oration or dramatic monologue. The work is divided into two books. The form of Book I is that of a Platonic dialogue on the all too real problems of government in contemporary sixteenth-century Europe, while that of Book II is that of an oratorical declamation on the ideal, imaginary republic of Utopia. I have adapted and modified Hexter's analysis of the composition of Utopia in the introduction to the Yale Edition (CW 4, xv--xxiii). Unlike Hexter, I distinguish at least four levels within the "body" of Utopia together with a fifth additional layer provided by the parerga, the garland of commendatory letters and verses added by Giles and Erasmus to the first three editions. {82} (See Figure 3.1 for an outline of the structure of Utopia---to be explained in the following paragraphs.)


The Structure of Utopia

Author More Narrator More Persona More, Giles
and Persona Hythloday
Narrator Hythloday
Prefatory Letter to Giles (38--44)
Book I
Introduction (46--54)
Beginning of 'Dialogue of Counsel' (54--58)
Cardinal Morton Episode (58--84)
Dialogue of Counsel (84--108)
Book II
Discourse on Utopia (110--236)
Sermon on Pride (236--44)
(Persona Hythloday)
Conclusion (244--46)
Second Letter to Giles
(248--52) (1517 only)

Figure 3.1. The Structure of Utopia


15. {82} Book II is clearly structured as a formal oration, called by Hexter the "Discourse on Utopia" (CW 4, 110--236). Hythloday's panegyric or encomium of Utopia has many formal similarities to Erasmus's Praise of Folly with which it is often compared. Both are delivered by imaginary speakers, Folly and Hythloday, who show many signs of being unreliable narrators or orators, and both are given in praise of apparently absurd and nonsensical things. However, under the mask of the absurd (Hythloday) and the comic (Folly), both texts conceal a profound wisdom and insight into human affairs. This comic mask, represented by Folly and Hythloday, allows both authors to criticise the evils of their society and also perhaps to suggest possible solutions, though it would be a serious mistake to take either text as a program for action.

16. However, the oration of Book II is preceded by the dialogue of Book I, called by Hexter the "Dialogue of Counsel" (54--108), in which More introduces both himself (Persona More) and Peter Giles, together with Raphael Hythloday, as characters.[13] The dialogue in Book I and the concluding peroration, the "Sermon on Pride" (236--44), given at the end of Book II, provide a contextual frame for the "Discourse on Utopia" in Book II. The "Dialogue of Counsel" in Book I focuses on the evils of European society, and deals with the central question, very pertinent to the situation of More the man at the time of writing Utopia, as to whether humanists should become involved with royal politics or rather seek the life of scholarly retirement, whether in Utopia or elsewhere. The "Dialogue of Counsel" also contains a dialogue-within-a-dialogue, the "Cardinal Morton Episode" (58--84), which is narrated by Hythloday and in which Hythloday is himself a speaker.

17. Just as there is a dialectical exchange in Book I between More and Hythloday on "The Best State of a Commonwealth," there is also a dialectical comparison set up between the {83} European world of Book I, and the Utopian World of Book II. Sometimes, the comparison is made explicitly by Hythloday, and at other times only implicitly, though it is at times made explicit in the marginal comments.

18. The "Dialogue of Counsel," "Discourse on Utopia," and the "Sermon on Pride" are further framed by an introduction at the beginning of Book I (46--54), and a conclusion at the end of Book II (244--46), to which More added the "Prefatory Letter to Giles" (38--44), and in the 1517 edition a postscript or epilogue in the form of a second letter to Giles (248--52), which, however, was omitted from all later editions.[14] I distinguish the voice, Narrator More, that speaks at the beginning of Book I (and also possibly at the end of Book II), from that of the first person voice of character or persona More in the "Dialogue of Counsel." I think a strong case can also be made for distinguishing both of these voices from {84} the also semi-fictional "authorial" voice, of the Prefatory Letter to Giles and the postscript to the 1517 edition, who is in turn the subject of much of the conversation of the prefatory letters (see next section), added by Erasmus and Peter Giles to the early editions. Somewhere behind all this is also lurking More-the-Author, who is not to be identified with any of these three voices or the voice of Hythloday for that matter, and who in some sense will forever remain elusive and impossible to pin down.

19. Utopia criticism has often been bedevilled in the past by the failure adequately to distinguish between the narrator and speaker in the "Dialogue of Counsel" in Book I, who is identified by the name "More," from the real, historical author who wrote Utopia. I will use 'Persona More,' for the speaker in the dialogue of Book I, 'Narrator More' for the voice that speaks at the beginning of Book I (and at the end of Book II), 'Author More' for the semi-fictional voice that speaks in the two letters to Giles (and the subject of much of the discussion in the rest of the parerga) and 'More' for the author of the work, Sir Thomas More. In the discussion that follows I intend, after briefly dealing with the significance of the prefatory letters, to analyse the structure of Book I, and to attempt to elucidate the function of the "Dialogue of Counsel." I will pay especially close attention to the opening of Book I (and the conclusion of Book II), because I think that the rapid movement from one level of narrative or discourse to another, causes special problems in interpreting Book I of Utopia.


3.4 The Prefatory Letters

20. At More's own request, various commendatory letters and verses were solicited by Peter Giles and Erasmus from the leading humanists of Northern Europe.[15] While the exact number of letters varies from edition to edition, they clearly serve as yet another interpretive frame to the text of Utopia itself. In addition, a number of commendatory verses, some by fictional characters, together with a map and various marginal comments, were added to the text of the first edition. Unfortunately, until the publication of the Yale {85} edition of Utopia in 1965, almost all the modern editions of Utopia omitted the parerga or prefatory materials. The Yale Edition reproduces a composite of all of the prefatory material of the early editions. However, the order of the parerga of the Yale Edition does not correspond exactly to that of any of the early editions. The contents of the parerga of the first three editions (1516, 1517 and March 1518) are given in comparison with the Yale Edition in Figure 3.2.[16]


The Parerga to the Utopia

1516 1517 March 1518 Yale Edition

1. Title Page 1. Title Page 1. Title Page 1. Title Page (1)
om. om. 2. Erasmus to
2. Erasmus to Froben (2)
2. 1516 Map om. om. See no. 4
3. Utopian Alphabet and Tetrastichon om. See no. 6 See no. 6
4. Hexastichon
2. Hexastichon
See no. 4 See no. 7
om. 3. Budé to Lupset 3. Budé to Lupset 3. Budé to Lupset (4--14)
See no. 2 om. om. 4. 1516 Map (16)
om. om. See no. 5 5. 1518 Map by Ambrosius Holbein (17)
See no. 3 om. See no. 6 6. Utopian Alphabet and Tetrastichon (18)
See no. 4 See no. 2 4. Hexastichon
7. Hexastichon Anemolii (20)
See no. 2 om. 5. 1518 Map by Ambrosius Holbein See no. 5
See no. 3 om. 6. Utopian Alphabet and Tetrastichon See no. 6
5. Giles to Busleyden 4. Giles to Busleyden 7. Giles to Busleyden 8. Giles to Busleyden
6. Desmarais' letter and epigram 5. Desmarais' letter and epigram om. 9. Desmarais' letter and epigram (26--28)
7. Geldenhauer and Schrijver's epigrams See no. 10 See no. 11 10. Geldenhauer and Schrijver's epigrams (36)
8. Busleyden to
See no. 9 See no. 10 11. Busleyden to More
9. More to Giles 6. More to Giles 8. More to Giles 12. More to Giles
10. Books I & II 7. Books I & II 9. Books I & II 13. Books I & II

om. 8. More's Second Letter to Giles om. 14. More's Second Letter to Giles (248--52)
See no. 8 9. Busleyden to
10. Busleyden to
See no. 11
See no. 7 10. Geldenhauer and Schrijver's epigrams 11. Geldenhauer and Schrijver's epigrams See no. 10
11. Errata 15. Rhenanus' letter to Pirckheimer (Excerpt): Preface to Epigrams
11. Marten's Device 12. Gourmont's
12. Froben's Device and Colophon

Figure 3.2. The Parerga to the Utopia


21. {85} A number of these prefatory letters, including More's own "Prefatory Letter," extend the fiction of More's account in Book I and II of Utopia, by referring to Utopia as a real place and Raphael Hythloday, the narrator of Book II, as a real person. It is clear that More intended the "Prefatory Letter to Giles" to serve as an introduction to the Utopia.[17] Certainly, Peter Giles treated it as such, since he added marginal comments to it, as well as to Books I and II, when preparing the first edition for Thierry Martens to publish. In addition, Giles was responsible for adding the Utopian alphabet, the Tetrastichon of Hythloday, the Hexastichon of Aemolius, the Letter to Busleyden, and probably the map as well (cf. CW 4, 22/17--21). All these additions help to perpetuate the fiction of the Utopia itself, and represent an important, though modest, contribution on Peter Giles's part. As far as we can guess, the idea of the fiction of Utopia grew out of a series of real conversations between More and Giles, and it is this debt that More seems to be acknowledging when he puts Giles into the account itself, admittedly as a minor character, in Book I. It is this device which allows More to continue the fiction of Utopia itself in the "Prefatory Letter to Giles," and allows Giles also to perpetuate it in his letter to Busleyden. More clearly entrusted the work of publication to Erasmus and Giles. In the prefatory letter, after maintaining for a while the pretence that he does not wish to have it published, More concludes by advising Giles:

At any rate, my dear Peter, conduct with Hythlodaeus the business which I {87} mentioned. Afterwards, I shall be fully free to take fresh counsel on the subject. However, since I have gone through the labor of writing, it is too late for me to be wise now. Therefore, provided it is done with the consent of Hythlodaeus, in the matter of publishing which remains I shall follow my friends' advice, and yours first and foremost. (CW 4, 44/21--26)[18]

Certainly, the addition of the prefatory recommendations and poems had the approval of More himself. In 1516, More was relatively unknown; it was the Utopia itself, together with the commendatory letters, that really made More famous in the international humanist circles of Northern Europe.

22. The contributors of the prefatory letters and verses, and the names mentioned in the Utopia itself, read like a roll-call of the most important humanists, and their patrons and printers, in Northern Europe in the early sixteenth century: Guillaume Budé, Jerome Busleyden, Jean Desmarais, Erasmus, John Froben, Thierry Martens, Peter Giles, Cornelius Grapheus, Thomas Lupset, Gerhard Noviomagius, Willibald Pirckheimer, Beatus Rhenanus, and Jean Le Sauvage.[19]

23. Far from being an afterthought, the prefatory letters are an integral part of the final work. The effect of the second frame of the parerga is similar to that of Book I as a frame for Book II. In the round robin of prefatory letters to the Utopia, we in effect overhear a second dialogue between More and Giles, and their humanist friends. The focus of the conversation is Utopia and Hythloday, and to a lesser extent "Authorial More" (not to be confused with More-as-Author), and "Editor Giles" (also not to be confused with the real-life Giles, town councillor of Antwerp, and friend of More and Erasmus, and corrector at Thierry Marten's press). The end result of this garland of letters is to distance both the reader and the author from the fiction of the Utopia. The mixing of fact and fiction, and the elaborate claims to verisimilitude are not meant to confuse the educated reader; rather, he is in a sense being invited to participate in the dialogue itself, while at the same time being warned by the literary games of the prefatory letters not to confuse the world of Utopia with that of {88} everyday reality.

24. The men who wrote these letters were neither abstract philosophers, nor academic literary scholars; rather, they were practical men of affairs like More himself, deeply involved in the legal, political, ecclesiastical and educational activities of their age. For them the study of literature was not separate from life. Those modern critics who treat the Utopia as being either only a work of fiction, or only a work of moral and political philosophy are certainly mistaken. As the title of the first edition of 1516 suggests, it was clearly meant to be taken as both:

A truly golden, little book no less beneficial than entertaining, about the best state of a commonwealth, and about the new island of Utopia, by the most illustrious author Thomas More, citizen and undersheriff of the famous city of London, edited by M. Peter Giles of Antwerp, printed by Thierry Martens Alust, now for the first time most accurately published by the Presses of the University of Louvain. (CW 4, p.2, apparatus*)[20]

25. As the prefatory letters emphasise, the reader is meant to accept the ambiguities of Utopia (whether it is fact or fiction, and whether it is meant to be taken seriously or only treated as a literary joke), as a reflection of the ambiguities of life itself. This, I take to be the meaning of the final comments of Narrator More at the end of Book II. After emphasizing the absurdity of Utopian society, Narrator More concludes:

Meanwhile, though in other respects he is a man of the most undoubted learning as well as of the greatest knowledge of human affairs, I cannot agree with all that he said. But I readily admit that there are very many features in the Utopian commonwealth which it is easier for me to wish for in our countries than to have any hope of seeing realized. (CW 4, 244/30--246/2)[21]

If there are elements of Utopia that are absurd,[22] it is, nonetheless, as Guillaume Budé puts it "a nursery of correct and useful institutions from which every man may introduce and adapt transplanted customs to his own city" (14/20--22).[23] This is part of the fundamental paradox of Utopia as a literary work, as recognised by More's immediate audience, that the {89} Utopia is both a work of fiction, on the one hand, and a serious work of political and moral philosophy, on the other.


3.5 The Structure of Book I

26. Refining the model outlined previously in section 3.3, The structure of Book I of More's Utopia can be further subdivided, in a manner analogous to the History of Richard III, into seventeen subsections (see Figure 3.3), varying in length from half a page to four pages in the Latin, averaging about two pages each.[24] These sections, which have been arrived at empirically, mark natural breaks in the text and seem to correspond with what we know of More's habits of composition in the De tristitia and Richard III.[25]


The Episodic Structure of Book I of More's Utopia

I) Introductory Section (CW 4, pp. 46--54)
1. 46/8--48/15

2. 48/15--54/13

Introduction: Narrator More describes the circumstances
that led to his visiting Peter Giles in Antwerp
Giles introduces More to Raphael Hythloday
II) Beginning of the Dialogue of Counsel (CW 4, pp. 54--58)
1. 54/13--58/14 Beginning of "The Dialogue of Counsel"
III) The Cardinal Morton Episode (CW 4, pp. 58--84)
1. 58/14--60/13
2. 60/13--64/31
3. 64/31--70/15
4. 70/16--74/17
5. 74/17--80/20
6. 80/20--84/20
At the Table of Cardinal Morton
Hythloday Argues with a Lawyer
Denunciation of Enclosures
Hythloday's Remedy for Thieves
The Republic of the Polylerites (An Example)
A Merry Dialogue Between a Friar and a Hanger-on
IV) The Dialogue of Counsel Continued (CW 4, pp. 84--108)
1. 84/20--86/22
2. 86/22--88/24
3. 88/24--90/22
4. 90/22--96/12
5. 96/12--31
6. 96/31--102/26
7. 102/27--106/3
8. 106/3--108/31
On the Platonic ideal of the Philosopher King
At the Court of the King of France
The Example of the Achorians
Another Royal Court with Corrupt Councillors
The Example of the Macarians
Academic Versus Civic Philosophy
The Example of the Utopians
The Conclusion to Book I
V) The Concluding Sections of Book II (CW 4, pp. 236--246)
1. 236/31--244/13
2. 244/13--246/2
Hythloday's Sermon on Greed and Pride
The 'Retractation' or Conclusion to Book II

Figure 3.3. The Episodic Structure of Book I of More's Utopia


{89} In this chapter I provide an interpretive close reading/analysis of Book I of the Utopia that emphasizes the contributions made by the individual speakers---Persona More, Peter Giles and Raphael Hythloday---to the unfolding of the dialogue, and also points to the main divisions within the structure of the work.

27. There is an enormous secondary literature on Utopia. I have cited over six hundred items on Utopia alone in the Bibliographical Appendix to my thesis---almost thirty percent of the total number of items. (See A Bibliography of Thomas More's Utopia, in EMLS 1.2.) Of these, I would estimate that some eighty to eighty-five percent of the studies (ignoring the editions and translations cited) deal exclusively or almost exclusively with Book II, only about five percent with the parerga, and not more than about ten percent (mainly historical scholarship) deal mainly or exclusively with Book I. However, as far as I know, no one has yet attempted the kind of detailed basic analysis of Book I that I provide in this chapter.

28. The brilliance of More's literary artistry in Book I has been seriously underestimated. Thomas More, as the author-contriver of the "dialogue" in Book I, is all the time manipulating the reader and setting him up. Despite its brevity, the basic structure of Book I {91} is actually more complex and multi-layered than that of Book II. The very compactness of Book I makes it easy to miss much of what is going on in the text. Although the textual material in each of the subsections described in Figure 3.3 is actually very coherently and even tightly organised, as with Richard III,[26] the transitions from subsection to subsection are often very abrupt and even startling in their unexpectedness. (One thinks of the tectonic plates in a geographical fault: the individual plates are quite rigid, but slippage can easily occur between the plates.) The effect of the multi-layeredness of the text is somewhat analogous to opening a series of Russian dolls, all contained within one another. One can never be quite sure that one has got to the bottom of it. While the abrupt transitions from section to section within Book I are meant, I think, to dislocate and disorient the reader (as an exercise in "defamiliarization"), and to prepare him for the "topsy-turvy" world of the "new island of Utopia" in Book II.


3.6 Analysis of the Text

3.6.1 The Introduction to Book I

29. Book I of Utopia begins with a brief statement of the circumstances that led to More's visit to Antwerp, the nominal setting of Book I, in 1515:

The most invincible King of England, Henry the Eighth of that name... had recently some matters of no slight import in dispute with Charles, the most serene Prince of Castile, and sent me to Flanders as a spokesman to discuss and settle them. I was a companion and associate to that incomparable man Cuthbert Tunstall... (CW 4 46/8--14*)[27]

In fact, More was only a minor member of the diplomatic mission which had been sent in May 1515 to the Low Countries to the court of Prince Charles of Burgundy, later crowned Holy Roman Emperor in 1519, to negotiate a new treaty governing the export of English wool and the sale of English cloth in Flanders.[28] Like many diplomatic missions the negotiations were inconclusive and dragged on: {92}

Those appointed by the Prince to deal with us, all excellent men, met us at Bruges, as had been previously arranged... When after one or two meetings there were certain points on which we could not agree sufficiently, they bade farewell to us for some days and left for Brussels to seek an official pronouncement from the Prince. (CW 4, 46/20--22, 27--29*)[29]

The negotiations broke off on 21st July, and More took no further part in them when they were later resumed. Finding himself with time on his hands More seems to have first gone to Tournai, to attend to some business on Erasmus's behalf and then to Antwerp, where he stayed until 22nd October when he was recalled to England. Narrator More continues: "Meanwhile, as my business led me, I made my way to Antwerp. While I stayed there, among those who visited me, none was more gracious than Peter Giles, a native of Antwerp" (46/29--48/3*).[30] Peter Giles had been a close friend of Erasmus's since 1504, and had been notified by him that More and Tunstall were coming to the Low Countries on diplomatic business.[31]

30. Giles obviously went out of his way to make More feel at home. After a brief encomiastic character-sketch of Giles (48/3--10), the narrator concludes that Giles's delightful society and charming discourse "greatly alleviated my longing for England, and the desire to see again my home, wife and children to whom I was exceedingly anxious to get back, for I had then been more than four months away from home" (48/11--15*).[32] One day, the account continues, after attending mass at the church of Notre Dame in Antwerp, Narrator More saw Peter Giles talking to a sunburned stranger of advanced years whom he took for a sea-captain. When Peter Giles saw More, he came up to him and said that he was just going to introduce the stranger to him:

"Do you see this man?" he said, pointing at once to the person I had seen him talking with, "I was on the point of taking him straight to you." "He would have been very welcome," I said, "for your sake." "No," he said, "for his own, if you knew him. There is no mortal alive today who can give you such an account of unknown peoples and lands, a subject about which I know you are always most greedy to hear." "Well, then," I said, "my guess was not a bad one. The moment I saw him, I was sure he was a ship's {93} captain." "But you are quite mistaken," he said, "for his sailing has not been like that of Palinurus but that of Ulysses or, rather, of Plato. (CW 4, 48/22--31*)[33]

First appearances are always deceptive in Utopia, and the narrator's failure to recognise Hythloday's true nature, until it has been revealed by Giles, is a warning to the reader not to take too literally what is to follow in the author's work. The significance of the literary allusions made by Peter Giles would have been obvious to most of More's contemporaries, but seems to have been missed by many modern readers: Palinurus, the helmsman in Virgil's Aeneid, corresponds roughly, in Neo-Platonic terms, to the bodily or physical level of interpretation, Ulysses to the metaphorical or psychological level, and Plato to the philosophical or spiritual level.[34]

31. Peter goes on to tell Narrator More that the stranger's name is Raphael Hythloday,[35] and that he is a Portuguese traveller who "being eager to see the world, joined Amerigo Vespucci and was his constant companion in the last three of those four voyages which are now universally read of" (50/4--6).[36] Ironically, the real, historical traveller Vespucci is being assimilated to the fictional pattern ("quae passim iam leguntur") of Palinurus, Ulysses and Plato. Hythloday did not return with Vespucci, but was left with twenty-four companions in a fort at the furthest point reached by Vespucci (in what is now modern day Brazil). From there he travelled with five companions through many countries until he arrived in Ceylon,[37] and from there went to Calicut[38] (on the Malabar coast in South-West India).[39] After thanking Peter for introducing Raphael, he invites them both home for dinner: "After we had greeted each other and exchanged the civilities which commonly pass at the first meeting of strangers, we went off to my house. There in the garden, on a bench covered with tufts of grass, we sat down to talk together" (50/22--25).[40]

32. Hythloday goes on to give a brief account of his travels (50/25--54/13). After leaving Vespucci's fort, Hythloday and his companions travelled partly on land by wagon and partly {94} on water by rafts,[41] until they reached lands containing very populous and well-ordered commonwealths.[42] Hythloday is vague about the locations of the places he travelled to. He obviously did not cross any great oceans like the Pacific.[43] He repeats the classical view that the torrid or equatorial regions are a barren wasteland, but describes the regions south of the equator as being inhabited by civilised peoples:

But when you have gone a little farther, the country gradually assumes a milder aspect, the climate is less fierce, the ground is covered with a pleasant green herbage, and the nature of living creatures becomes less wild. At length you reach peoples, cities, and towns which maintain a continual traffic by sea and land not only with each other and their neighbors but also with far-off countries. (CW 4, 52/7--12)[44]

There they found that the natives used flat-bottomed boats, and had sails made of papyrus or leather.[45] Later, they found ships made in the western fashion. They earned the gratitude of the local inhabitants by teaching them the use of the compass. Narrator More at this point comments that they asked Hythloday eagerly for an account of those subjects:

For on these subjects we eagerly inquired of him, and he no less readily discoursed; but about stale travelers' wonders we were not curious. Scyllas and greedy Celaenos and folk-devouring Laestrygones and similar frightful monsters are common enough, but well and wisely trained citizens are not everywhere to be found. (CW 4, 52/29--54/1).[46]

This is a clear warning to the reader not to expect the kind of wondrous, legendary travel accounts that were so popular in late antiquity and the Middle Ages from the time of Pliny onwards.[47]

33. Utopia is clearly located in the Southern hemisphere, and as such is an antipodean reflection of Europe, and especially of England, as is indicated at one point in Book II: "But in that new world, which is almost as far removed from ours by the equator as their life and character are different from ours..." (196/29--32).[48] Narrator More now casually mentions the Utopians for the first time: {95}

To be sure, just as he called attention to many ill-advised customs among these new nations, so he rehearsed not a few points from which our own cities, nations, races, and kingdoms may take example for the correction of their errors. These instances, as I said, I must mention on another occasion. Now I intend to relate merely what he told us of the manners and customs of the Utopians, first, however, giving the talk which drew and led him on to mention that commonwealth. (CW 4, 54/1--8)[49]

The narrator mentions that Hythloday then touched on the faults of both hemispheres, and compared the wiser measures that were taken in each with the other.[50] From here on it looks as though Hythloday is going to launch into an account of the Utopians. However, what we get is not the description of Utopia, but the "Dialogue of Counsel"---More the author deliberately frustrates our expectations that Utopia will develop into a travel romance, and instead proceeds with a treatment in dialogic form of the problems of European politics, postponing the description of the Island of Utopia to Book II.


3.6.2 The Beginning of The 'Dialogue of Counsel'

34. Peter Giles begins at the outset of the "Dialogue of Counsel" by raising the issue of royal service:

Why, my dear Raphael, I wonder that you do not attach yourself to some king. I am sure there is none of them to whom you would not be very welcome because you are capable not only of entertaining a king with this learning and experience of men and places but also of furnishing him with examples and of assisting him with counsel. (CW 4, 54/13--17)[51]

Peter then suggests that by doing so, Hythloday will certainly further his own interests and those of his family. To which Hythloday retorts that he has already divided his property among his family, and sees no reason why he should enter into servitude to kings for their sake (cf. 54/24--27). Peter Giles protests that he meant service and not servitude. Hythloday responds cynically to this that servitude is only one syllable more than service.[52] Clearly, Hythloday rejects from the outset any crass material motives of self-advancement as being an inadequate basis for royal service. Peter Giles then suggests more noble, altruistic {96} motives: "'But my conviction is,' said Peter, 'whatever name you give to this mode of life, that it is the very way by which you can not only profit people both as private individuals and as members of the commonwealth but also render your own condition more prosperous'" (54/29--32*).[53] Raphael does not fall for the bait and replies: "'Should I,' said Raphael, 'make it more prosperous by a way which my soul abhors? As it is, I now live as I please, which I surely fancy is very seldom the case with your grand courtiers'" (54/32--56/2).[54] Obviously, Raphael jealously guards his own freedom and independence. Narrator More now enters the debate, and becomes a persona in his own narrative. Persona More interjects:

"Well," I then said, "it is plain that you, my dear Raphael, are desirous neither of riches nor of power. Assuredly, I reverence and look up to a man of your mind no whit less than to any of those who are most high and mighty. But it seems to me you will do what is worthy of you and of this generous and truly philosophic spirit of yours if you so order your life as to apply your talent and industry to the public interest, even if it involves some personal disadvantages to yourself. This you can never do with as great profit as if you are councilor to some great monarch and make him follow, as I am sure you will, straightforward and honorable courses. (CW 4, 56/4--11).[55]

The discussion now moves to a more philosophical level, and remains there for the rest of Book I.

35. Hythloday is not taken in by Persona More's flattery, and immediately launches into a condemnation of king's councillors and their vices, citing England as an example:

"Such proud, ridiculous, and obstinate prejudices I have encountered often in other places and once in England too." "What," I said, "were you ever in our country?" "Yes," he said, "I spent several months there, not long after the disastrous end of the insurrection of western Englishmen [Cornishmen] against the king, which was put down with their pitiful slaughter. (CW 4, 58/13--18*)[56]

The 'Cardinal Morton Episode' that follows (CW 4, 58--84), takes up almost half of Book I of Utopia, and adds another level to the dialogue that is already going on in Book I. In the {97} 'Cardinal Morton Episode,' Hythloday, in turn, becomes the narrator of a 'dialogue-within-a-dialogue', as well as one of the personae in that dialogue. The account of the alleged visit of Hythloday to England is supposed to have taken place at the time of the Cornish Rebellion in 1497, during the reign of Henry VII, almost twenty years before. The double indirection of setting the 'dialogue-within-a-dialogue' back in the recent past,[57] and of having Hythloday report the conversation at Cardinal Morton's table to Persona More, obviously serves to detach and insulate More-as-Author even further from his artistic creation. Given the intensity of Hythloday's denunciation of the evils of European society that follows in the 'Cardinal Morton Episode,' this may have been a precaution to protect the author from possible incrimination.


3.6.3 The Cardinal Morton Episode

36. Narrator Hythloday begins by singing the praises of Cardinal Morton as the model statesman (cf. 58/18--60/5):

He was a man, my dear Peter (for More knows about him and needs no information from me), who deserved respect as much for his prudence and virtue as for his authority. (CW 4, 58/20--22)[58]

The conversation at Cardinal Morton's table starts with an English lawyer justifying the harsh justice meted out to thieves in which as many as twenty at a time are sent to a single gallows.[59] Hythloday, who now becomes a persona in his own reported dialogue, responds by condemning the death penalty as too harsh a punishment for theft (cf. 60/14--25). The Lawyer retorts that they should take up farming or manual crafts instead. Hythloday replies "'No,' I said, 'you shall not escape so easily'" (60/27*).[60] He goes on to cite the examples of those who come back crippled from the wars with France, and of the servants of nobility who are turned out on the streets to beg when their masters die, as examples of indigency. After a while no one wants to employ them, and they are forced to become {98} thieves. The lawyer retorts by defending the right of the nobility to keep many retainers:

"But this," he said to us, "is just the sort of man we ought to encourage most. On them, being men of a loftier and nobler spirit than craftsmen and farmers, depend the strength and sinews of our army when we have to wage war." (CW 4, 62/20--23*)[61]

Hythloday condemns the practice of keeping a standing army because the soldiers do more harm to their own people than the enemy does, and because an army of draftees does not fight any better than an army of craftsmen and farmers. Hythloday condemns the nobility for corrupting the strongest men:

Consequently there is no danger that those attendants whose bodies, once strong and vigorous (for it is only the picked men that gentlemen deign to corrupt), are now either weakened by idleness or softened by almost womanish occupations, should become unmanned if trained to earn their living in honest trades and exercised in virile labours! (CW 4, 64/21--25)[62]

Hythloday then enters (CW 4, 64--70) into a bitter denunciation of the policy of enclosing the land of peasant farmers for sheep grazing. English sheep, which are normally so tame, are now so wild "that they devour human beings themselves and devastate and depopulate fields, houses, and towns" (64/33--66/1).[63] Hythloday goes on to describe the terrible sufferings of those peasant families that were forced off the land by the policy of enclosures, and how out of desperation they were reduced to a life of beggary and theft. He concludes "what else, I ask, do you do but first create thieves and then become the very agents of their punishment" (70/11--12).[64]

37. The denunciation is profoundly ironic in that the purpose of the diplomatic mission that led More to Bruges and Antwerp in the first place was to renegotiate the Wool Staple with Prince Charles of Burgundy (later the Hapsburg Emperor Charles V). Many have felt, I think quite rightly, that the intensity of Hythloday's denunciation reflects the feelings of the Author himself. All throughout his life, More seems to have been deeply concerned about the conditions of the poor and indigent. Even at the end of his life, in Books II and III of the {99} Dialogue of Comfort, he devoted considerable attention to the plight of beggars and servants.[65]

38. After Hythloday has finished, the English lawyer then prepares to respond to Hythloday's denunciations of English society. However, Cardinal Morton interrupts him and tells him to hold his peace (cf. 70/22--28). Then he turns to Hythloday and asks him:

But now I am eager to have you tell me, my dear Raphael, why you think that theft ought not to be punished with the extreme penalty, or what other penalty you yourself would fix, which would be more beneficial to the public. (CW 4, 70/28--72/1)[66]

Hythloday begins his criticism of the English justice system by stating the fundamental principle of equity---that the punishment should fit or be proportional to the severity of the crime:

Certainly,... most reverend and kind Father, I think it altogether unjust that a man should suffer the loss of his life for the loss of someone's money. In my opinion, not all the goods that fortune can bestow on us can be set in the scale against a man's life. If they say that this penalty is attached to the offense against justice and the breaking of the laws, hardly to the money stolen, one may well characterize this extreme justice as extreme wrong. (CW 4, 72/6--11)[67]

Hythloday points out to Cardinal Morton that God has forbidden us not only to kill a man but even to take our own lives, and yet we think nothing of executing a man for stealing some small change. Even the law of Moses only punished a thief with a fine not death. Hythloday then cites the example of the Romans, who sent convicts to the stone quarries and mines to punish them. Hythloday gives as an example of humane treatment of thieves, the Republic of the Polylerites, the first of several imaginary societies (culminating in the island of Utopia itself) described in Book I. Hythloday describes the Polylerites as follows:

I can find no better system in any country than that which, in the course of my travels, I observed in Persia among the people commonly called the Polylerites, a nation that is large and well-governed and, except that it pays an annual tribute to the Persian padishah, otherwise free and {100} autonomous in its laws. They are far from the sea, almost ringed round by mountains, and satisfied with the products of their own land, which is in no way infertile. (CW 4, 74/18--26)[68]

The location of the Republic of the Polylerites, roughly that of modern Kurdistan, seems to correspond also with that of the legendary biblical Garden of Eden, a popular "tourist spot" in many medieval travel romances, including Mandeville's Travels. Like the island of Utopia later on, though surrounded by mountains rather than the sea as in the case of Utopia, it is a more or less self-contained society with limited commerce with the outside world.

39. The Polylerites punish theft by slavery, but their practice is more humane than that of the Romans or the Old Testament Jews. In the Republic of the Polylerites, thieves have to make restitution of stolen property to the original owners rather than to the state. They are then condemned to hard labour in public works. But apart from being locked up at night in their sleeping quarters they are not treated any more harshly than other workers. They have to wear special clothes and the tips of their ears are cut off as a mark of their servitude. They can be hired out as wage labour, but the money they earn goes into the public coffers. It is a crime punishable by death for a slave to carry money or arms or to escape to another district. (There are similar restrictions on movement in Utopia.) If the slaves conduct themselves in a responsible way they are eventually set free from slavery.

40. When he has finished his speech, Hythloday suggests that the same method of dealing with thieves be adopted in England. The lawyer immediately attacks him: "Never could that system be established in England without involving the commonwealth in a very serious crisis" (80/4--5).[69] The others present agree. However, the Cardinal is more open-minded, and suggests provisionally trying out Hythloday's ideas:

It is not easy to guess whether it would turn out well or ill inasmuch as absolutely no experiment has been made. If, after pronouncement of the sentence of death, the king were to order the postponement of its execution and, after limitation of the privileges of sanctuary, were to try this system, then, if success proved its usefulness, it would be right to make the system {101} law. In case of failure, then and there to put to death those previously condemned would be no less for the public good and no more unjust than if execution were done here and now. In the meantime no danger can come of the experiment. Futhermore, I am sure that vagrants might very well be treated in the same way for, in spite of repeated legislation against them, we have made no progress. (CW 4, 80/8--17)[70]

After the Cardinal had finished, all those present praised the Cardinal's proposals even though they had previously condemned them when Hythloday had first suggested them.

41. Hythloday next relates a comic interlude (80/20--84/20) that took place at Cardinal Morton's table, which the glossator describes as "A Merry Dialogue between a Friar and a Hanger-On [Festiuus dialogus fratris & morionis]" (80/23--24, gloss). On the surface, this episode seems to be irrelevant to the main theme of the Dialogue of Counsel, but it raises the important problem of vagrancy, which was closely linked to that of theft and beggary. After Cardinal Morton has finished speaking, one of the guests present comments:

Raphael's proposal has made good provision for thieves. The Cardinal has taken precautions also for vagrants. It only remains now that public measures be devised for persons whom sickness or old age has brought to want and made unable to work for their living. (CW 4, 80/28--33)[71]

A hanger-on at Cardinal Morton's table with pretensions at being a court jester, then replies: "Give me leave,... I shall see that this situation, too, be set right" (80/33--32/1).[72] The hanger-on recommends that beggars be distributed among the Benedictine monasteries, that the men be made lay-brothers and the women nuns. The Cardinal was amused by the jest but a certain theologian who was a friar piped in "not even so will you be rid of mendicants unless you make provision for us friars too" (82/16--17).[73] The hanger-on then jibes that the Cardinal has already made provision for mendicant friars when he determined that tramps be confined and made to work. A furious altercation then develops between the friar and the hanger-on which has to be brought to a stop by the Cardinal's personal intervention.[74] {102}


3.6.4 The 'Dialogue of Counsel' Proper

42. After this episode Hythloday returns to the main frame of the 'Dialogue of Counsel,' by addressing Persona More as follows:

Look, my dear More, with how lengthy a tale I have burdened you. I should have been quite ashamed to protract it if you had not eagerly called for it and seemed to listen as if you did not want any part of the conversation to be left out. Though I ought to have related this conversation more concisely, still I felt bound to tell it to exhibit the attitude of those who had rejected what I had said first yet who, immediately afterward, when the Cardinal did not disapprove of it, also gave their approval, flattering him so much that they even smiled on and almost allowed in earnest the fancies of the hanger-on, which his master in jest did not reject. From this reaction you may judge what little regard courtiers would pay to me and my advice. (CW 4, 84/20--30)[75]

Persona More evades Hythloday's criticism by telling him what a pleasure it was to hear of Cardinal Morton again in whose court he had been brought up as a lad. The somewhat idealised portrait of Cardinal Morton in Book I of Utopia is clearly meant as an example of the model statesman in action,[76] and the conversation quite naturally at this point turns to the Platonic doctrine of the Philosopher King, which becomes the focus of much of the remaining discussion of Book I.[77] Persona More comments "Even now, nevertheless, I cannot change my mind but must needs think that, if you could persuade yourself not to shun the courts of kings, you could do the greatest good to the common weal by your advice" (86/7--9).[78] He goes on to cite "your favorite author" Plato's opinion that commonwealths can only be happy if philosophers become kings or kings philosophers "What a distant prospect of happiness there will be if philosophers will not condescend even to impart their counsel to kings!" (86/12--13).[79]

43. Hythloday retorts that many philosophers have already given rulers good advice in published books only to have it rejected. He cites the example of the machiavellian machinations of the French king and of his court both in the Italian wars and in their relationships with the court of Burgundy and the kingdoms of Navarre and Castille. The {103} French even make peace with the English under false pretenses, while at the same time making deals with the Scots to attack the English (as happened in 1513) when their backs are turned. (It hardly needs to be pointed out that the same criticisms could have been made by Hythloday, were it politic to do so, of English policies under Henry VIII and Wolsey.) Hythloday concludes his diatribe against French policies by imagining what would happen if he were present at the French council:

In such a meeting, I say, when such efforts are being made, when so many distinguished persons are vying with each other in proposals of a warlike nature, what if an insignificant fellow like myself were to get up and advise going on another tack? Suppose I expressed the opinion that Italy should be left alone. Suppose I argued that we should stay at home because the single kingdom of France by itself was almost too large to be governed well by a single man so that the king should not dream of adding other dominions under his sway. Suppose, then, I put before them the decisions made by the people called the Achorians who live on the mainland to the south-southeast of the island of Utopia. (CW 4, 88/19--26)[80]

Hythloday then launches into a description of the Achorian customs. Significantly, the Achorians have roughly the same kind of geographical relationship to Utopia that France has to England. According to Hythloday, the Achorians had gone to war to win another kingdom that their king had laid claim to by virtue of an old marriage tie. (A thinly veiled reference to the French invasion of Italy in 1494, and also possibly to the earlier Hundred Years War between England and France.) However, after they had conquered it, they decided that it would cause so much trouble to keep it that they forced their king to choose which of the two kingdoms he wanted to keep. He reluctantly gave the kingdom to a friend who was driven out soon afterwards. Hythloday then asks Persona More to imagine what kind of response he would get if he made the same suggestions to the French king: "'What reception from my listeners, my dear More, do you think this speech of mine would find?' 'To be sure, not a very favorable one,' I said" (90/21--22*).[81]

44. He then pictures another imaginary council where the councillors are advising the king {104} on all sorts of nefarious schemes (in terms reminiscent of Henry VII) that could be used for squeezing money out of his subjects. One advisor recommends manipulating the value of currency so that it is worth more whenever the king has to pay a debt, and less whenever anyone has to pay him anything. Another suggests a make-believe war as a pretext for levying taxes (a practice common in England). A third advises reviving some old moth-eaten laws which have not been enforced for a long time, and fining everyone who has transgressed them. Another recommends punishing with heavy penalties actions that are contrary to the common good, and that the king only grant dispensations at a great price---in that way gaining both the esteem of the common people and also enriching the king both through the fines exacted and the dispensations given. All these abuses were widely practiced by European monarchs, including Henry VII (and Henry VIII). In fact as early as 1509, More had dared to criticise the fiscal policies of Henry VII in his coronation ode addressed to Henry VIII.[82]

45. Hythloday next describes various perversions of justice in this imaginary kingdom. Another councillor advises that the king bind the judges to himself and insist that they always judge in his favour, and that important judicial matters should always be debated in the king's presence (as happened on more than one occasion during the reign of Henry VIII.)[83] Then, in terms that 'prophetically' anticipate the intimidation of both judges and jury by Cromwell and Henry VIII himself in the case of More's own trial, Hythloday goes on to describe how the judges can be won over:

There will be no cause of his [the king's] so patently unjust in which one of them will not, either from a desire to contradict or from shame at repeating another's view or to curry favor, find some loophole whereby the law can be perverted. When through the opposite opinions of the judges a thing in itself as clear as daylight has been made a subject of debate, and when truth has become a matter of doubt, the king is opportunely furnished a handle to interpret the law in his own interest. Everyone else will acquiesce from shame or from fear. Afterwards the decision is boldly pronounced from the Bench. Then, too, a pretext can never be wanting for deciding on the {105} king's side. For such a judge it is enough that either equity be on his side or the letter of the law or the twisted meaning of the written word or, what finally outweighs all law with conscientious judges, the indisputable royal prerogative! (CW 4, 92/18--30)[84]

The councillors further advise that the king grind down the common people with poverty to break their spirits and make them less likely to rebel.

46. Hythloday then asks Persona More to imagine what would happen if he, Hythloday, himself were present at the council. Hythloday imagines himself getting up and condemning all the above-mentioned counsels as dishonorable and dangerous. He insists that the people choose a king for their own sake, and not his, and that "it belongs to the king to take more care for the welfare of his people than for his own, just as it is the duty of a shepherd, insofar as he is a shepherd, to feed his sheep rather than himself" (94/13--16).[85] The poverty of the people is not a safeguard for peace: nowhere do you find more quarreling than among beggars. The true dignity of a king comes from exercising authority over prosperous and happy subjects. In terms that anticipate the discussion of the World as a prison in the Dialogue of Comfort,[86] Hythloday asserts that for a single person to enjoy a life of pleasure and self-indulgence amid the groans of his subjects is to be the keeper, not of a kingdom, but of a jail. The king should live on the resources of his own estates and adjust his expenses to his revenues. He should punish criminals rather than finding out all sorts of legal trickery to tax his subjects.

47. Hythloday cites the example of the Macarians, a people who live quite close to Utopia. Their king has to take an oath on assuming office that he will keep in his treasury no more than a thousand pounds of gold. This amount is enough to put down rebellions and to meet hostile invasions, but it is not large enough to tempt the king to seize the property of others. The law also forestalls any shortages of coinage supply needed for daily commerce. Hythloday concludes by asking Persona More to imagine the response his proposals are {106} likely to get: "To sum it all up, if I tried to obtrude these and like ideas on men strongly inclined to the opposite way of thinking, to what deaf ears should I tell the tale!" (96/29--31).[87] Persona More replies:

Deaf indeed, without doubt,... and, by heaven, I am not surprised. Neither, to tell the truth, do I think that such ideas should be thrust on people, or such advice given, as you are positive will never be listened to. What good could such novel ideas do, or how could they enter the minds of individuals who are already taken up and possessed by the opposite conviction? In the private conversation of close friends this academic philosophy is not without its charm, but in the councils of kings, where great matters are debated with great authority, there is no room for these notions. (CW 4, 96/31--98/8)[88]

This is a crucial point in Book I. Persona More is pointing to the fatal weakness in Hythloday's whole approach---that the message must be adapted to the audience and the situation at hand. This conflict between Ciceronian rhetoric and Platonic philosophy has received considerable attention from recent historical critics of Book I of More's Utopia.[89] Hythloday fails to see what Persona More is getting at, and replies: "That is just what I meant... by saying there is no room for philosophy with rulers" (98/8--9).[90] Persona More then drives the point home:

Right... that is true---not for this academic philosophy which thinks that everything is suitable to every place. But there is another philosophy, more practical for statesmen, which knows its stage, adapts itself to the play in hand, and performs its role neatly and appropriately. This is the philosophy which you must employ. (CW 4, 98/9--14)[91]

Persona More then criticizes the Platonic philosophical critique of society, adopting instead a Ciceronian humanistic position. He asserts that even if you cannot uproot wrong-headed opinions you should nevertheless not abandon the commonwealth. You cannot force new and strange ideas on people of contrary opinion. Instead, you should use the indirect approach and strive to handle these matters tactfully to the best of your power: "What you cannot turn to good you must at least make as little bad as you can. For it is impossible that all {107} should be well unless all men were good, a situation which I do not expect for a great many years to come!" (100/1--3).[92] Hythloday strongly rejects this position; he asserts that to follow Persona More's advice is to share the lunacy of others, not to cure it. He insists that he will speak the truth as he sees it no matter how unpleasant:

Although that speech of mine might perhaps be unwelcome and disagreeable to those councilors, yet I cannot see why it should seem odd even to the point of folly. What if I told them the kind of things which Plato creates in his republic or which the Utopians actually put in practice in theirs? (CW 4, 100/7--10)[93]

Hythloday then casually mentions one of the perennially fascinating aspects of Utopian society, that the Utopians, like the inhabitants of Plato's Republic, have all things in common. However, instead of going on immediately to describe Utopian society, he begins by defending himself against Persona More's charges, "what did my speech... contain that would not be appropriate or obligatory to have propounded everywhere" (100/12--13, 16--17),[94] and then launches into a diatribe against European political morality.

48. If everything that seemed odd to the corrupted morals of men were to be criticised, then we would have to reject almost all of Christ's teachings. Yet he commanded that his teachings be preached openly for all men to hear. Christian preachers, however, are very good at adjusting the teachings of Christ to fit the morals of men. Hythloday goes on to condemn Persona More's "indirect approach":

At court there is no room for dissembling, nor may one shut one's eyes to things. One must openly approve the worst counsels and subscribe to the most ruinous decrees. He would be counted a spy and almost a traitor, who gives only faint praise to evil counsels. Moreover, there is no chance for you to do any good because you are brought among colleagues who would easily corrupt even the best of men before being reformed themselves. By their evil companionship, either you will be seduced yourself or, keeping your own integrity and innocence, you will be made a screen for the wickedness and folly of others. (CW 4 102/4--12)[95]

Plato advocated that philosophers abstain from administration of the commonwealth. {108} Hythloday condemns the ownership of private property: "it appears to me that wherever you have private property and all men measure all things by cash values, there it is scarcely possible for a commonwealth to have justice or prosperity" (102/21--23).[96] Contrast with this the wise and holy institutions of the Utopians where all goods are distributed equally and yet there is an abundance of all things. He goes on to praise Plato's advocacy of communism. Where there is private property, most of the wealth is shared by a small group of people, while the rest live in poverty. The rich are parasites. The poor live simple, well-behaved and industrious lives, while the rich are greedy, unscrupulous and useless. Hythloday condemns half-measures aimed at controlling the concentration of wealth or limiting the power of kings, and instead advocates communism as the cure: "There is no hope, however, of a cure and a return to a healthy condition as long as each individual is master of his own property" (104/31--32).[97] Persona More rejects Hythloday's position:

But... I am of the contrary opinion. Life cannot be satisfactory where all things are common. How can there be a sufficient supply of goods when each withdraws himself from the labor of production? For the individual does not have the motive of personal gain and he is rendered slothful by trusting to the industry of others. (CW 4, 106/3--7)[98]

If there is complete equality then the authority of magistrates will be eliminated, and there will be no way to stop bloodshed and riot. Hythloday's response is once more to cite the example of the Utopians: "But you should have been with me in Utopia and personally seen their manners and customs as I did, for I lived there more than five years and would never have wished to leave except to make known that new world" (106/13--16).[99]

49. At this point, Peter Giles, who has quietly been listening all along to the debate between Hythloday and Persona More,[100] bursts in: "Yet surely... it would be hard for you to convince me that a better-ordered people is to be found in that new world than in the one known to us" (106/18--20).[101] Hythloday counters by asserting the antiquity of Utopian society: "If we must believe them, there were cities among them before there were men {109} among us" (106/26--27).[102] And he claims that the Utopians have even had contact with the Romans and Egyptians. He cites an incident in which a ship, manned by Roman and Egyptian sailors had been shipwrecked on the coast of Utopia twelve hundred years beforehand.[103] The Utopians eagerly mastered everything the Romans and Egyptians had to teach them. By contrast the Europeans are incapable of learning from others: "And, just as they immediately at one meeting appropriated to themselves every good discovery of ours, so I suppose it will be long before we adopt anything that is better arranged with them than with us" (108/13--16).[104] Persona More then politely asks Raphael, not that Hythloday needs much of an invitation, to give a description of Utopian society: "Do not be brief, but set forth in order the terrain, the rivers, the cities, the inhabitants, the traditions, the customs, the laws, and in fact, everything which you think we should like to know" (108/20--23).[105] Hythloday expresses pleasure at the request but warns that it will take time to fulfill. Persona More then suggests they dine first. After dinner they go back into the garden again and take up the same seating and settle down to listen to Hythloday's narration.


3.6.5 The 'Sermon on Pride' and the Conclusion to Book II

50. Hythloday's extended 'Discourse on Utopia' in Book II (CW 4, 110--236) can be seen within the framework of the dialogue of Book I as one more, albeit enormous, extremely prolonged exemplum, analogous to the previous brief descriptions of the Polylerites, Achorians and Macarians in Book I.[106] The concluding sections of Book II (CW 4, 236--46) can also be interpreted, not only as providing the peroration to the 'Discourse on Utopia', but also as serving as a continuation and conclusion to the dialogue of Book I. The scholarly commentary on Book II of Utopia is enormous (see the appropriate sections of the Utopia Bibliography in the Appendix See EMLS 1.2 for revised Utopia Bibliography), in comparison with the limited amount of mainly historical scholarship on Book I. However, until recently very little attention has been paid to the {110} ending of Book II.[107] Whether Hythloday has proved his case by his extremely long (in comparison to the brevity of Book I) description of Utopian society, is left up to the individual reader to decide. It is clear from the 'Sermon on Greed and Pride' that forms the peroration to Book II that Hythloday certainly thinks he has.

51. Hythloday concludes the 'Discourse on Utopia' proper, by reminding his audience (Persona More and Peter Giles) of the promise he had made at the end of Book I to describe Utopian society: "Now I have described to you, as exactly as I could, the structure of that commonwealth which I judge not merely the best but the only one which can rightly claim the name of a commonwealth" (236/31--34).[108] He goes on to assert that outside of Utopia there is no genuine concern for the public welfare, and that men are concerned with their private interests only. In Utopia, where nothing is private, the individual lacks nothing for his private use---the public granaries are full and everyone is rich. In other countries the individual has to worry about poverty and looking after his descendants and even arranging his daughter's dowry. There is not the slightest trace of justice or fairness. Noblemen, bankers and moneylenders grow rich from their idleness, while hardworking labourers and tradesmen lead such harsh and miserable lives, that even the condition of beasts of burden might seem preferable. The workers toil all day and earn barely enough to live on. In old age and sickness they are abandoned and left to die a miserable death. The rich further extort money from and exploit the poor in the most ruthless fashion, and then pervert the laws to palm their actions off as justice. Hythloday bitterly denounces the oppression of the poor by the rich:

Consequently, when I consider and turn over in my mind the state of all commonwealths flourishing anywhere today, so help me God, I can see nothing else but a kind of conspiracy of the rich, who are aiming at their own interests under the name and title of the commonwealth. (CW 4, 240/18--22)[109]

Yet even after the rich have divided up the goods of the poor among themselves they are far {111} from the happiness of Utopian society. In Utopia greed has been abolished because the use of money has been done away with. Hythloday further claims that with the abolition of money a whole host of criminal activities has been rooted up:

In Utopia all greed for money was entirely removed with the use of money. What a mass of troubles was then cut away! What a crop of crimes was then pulled up by the roots! Who does not know that fraud, theft, rapine, quarrels, disorders, brawls, seditions, murders, treasons, poisonings, which are avenged rather than restrained by daily executions, die out with the destruction of money? Who does not know that fear, anxiety, worries, toils, and sleepless nights will also perish at the same time as money? What is more, poverty, which money alone seemed to make poor, forthwith would itself dwindle and disappear if money were entirely done away with everywhere. (CW 4, 240/31--242/8)[110]

He goes on to give as an example of the evils of money the fate of famine victims, and he claims that if during periods of famine in European society you had opened the granaries of rich men, you would have found enough grain to feed all the poor people who had been killed off by starvation and disease. Men everywhere would long ago have adopted the practice of the Utopians, either out of self-interest or even on the authority of Christ himself, "had not one single monster, the chief and progenitor of all plagues, striven against it---I mean, Pride" (242/24--26).[111] Pride is too deeply rooted in human nature to be easily eradicated. But, at least in Utopian society, they have been able to remove the causes of ambition and discord.

52. There can be little doubt, given the intensity of Hythloday's denunciations of the depredations of the rich, comparable in many ways to the very strong language used to denounce enclosures in Book I, that this in part reflects the feelings of More himself as author---feelings that might have been too dangerous to express in propria persona. However, More as author would hardly have been naive enough to believe that the mere abolition of the use of money would have abolished the vice of Greed. In the end, Hythloday's final analysis of the evils of European society as being attributable to the {112} workings of Pride and Greed, two of the most important of the Seven Deadly Sins, seems strangely naive and inadequate. (This was probably deliberately done by More as author to partially undercut Hythloday's own position.) Though More himself was later to give a fairly traditional treatment of the Seven Deadly Sins in The Four Last Things (1522), his own career as a public official showed an infinitely more subtle and sophisticated understanding of the roots of political corruption and of the evils in human society.

53. The final conclusion of Utopia (244/13--246/2) is even more problematic than Hythloday's 'Sermon on Pride':

When Raphael had finished his story, many things came to my mind which seemed very absurdly established in the customs and laws of the people described---not only in their method of waging war, their ceremonies and religion, as well as their other institutions, but most of all in that feature which is the principal foundation of their whole structure. I mean their common life and subsistence---without any exchange of money. This latter alone utterly overthrows all the nobility, magnificence, splendor, and majesty which are, in the estimation of the common people, the true glories and ornaments of the commonwealth. (CW 4, 244/13--21)[112]

To begin with, while the voice, which I will call the 'Concluding Voice', clearly changes at this point, it is not exactly clear what level(s) within the text the voice is operating at: is it Persona More (the voice of the dialogue in Book I), Narrator More (the voice at the beginning of Book I), or even Authorial More (the voice of the Prefatory Letter and the subject, together with Hythloday, of much of the 'conversation' of the parerga), or perhaps, if, as I think, the ambiguity of levels in intentional, a combination of all three (cf. Figure 3.1)? Furthermore, the tone of the Concluding Voice is partially ironic, and as such, to use a modern jargon-word, partially 'deconstructs' itself. We know that More the author both in his later English works, such as the Dialogue of Comfort, and also in his personal life, through his many acts of charity, showed a deep and abiding concern for the plight and sufferings of the poor. The praise of "nobility, magnificence, splendor and majesty" is obviously heavily ironic if not openly sarcastic here (the same tone that one finds in the {113} 'Postscript' or 'Second Letter to Giles' of the 1517 edition), as the "ut publica est opinio [as is the public opinion]" makes abundantly clear. And yet the repudiation of Hythloday's position by the Concluding Voice seems genuine enough. It is the same paradoxical tone that one finds in Chaucer's 'Retractation' to The Canterbury Tales and in the conclusion to Troilus and Creseyde, though I think that More's 'Retractation' to the Utopia is superior in its succinctness to the endings of either of Chaucer's great masterpieces.

54. The Concluding Voice then goes on to express qualified praise of Hythloday's paradoxical encomium of Utopia. After first indicating that Hythloday would not tolerate any opposition to his views, the Concluding Voice goes on to praise the Utopians' way of life and Hythloday's speech, and invites Hythloday in to supper, suggesting they continue the conversation at some other occasion. The final paragraph (which has been quoted earlier) is deliberately open-ended, praising some aspects of Utopian society and rejecting others:

Meanwhile, though in other respects he is a man of the most undoubted learning as well as of the greatest knowledge of human affairs, I cannot agree with all that he said. But I readily admit that there are very many features in the Utopian commonwealth which it is easier for me to wish for in our countries than to have any hope of seeing realized. (CW 4, 244/30--246/2)[21a]

The end result of all this is that the reader is left hanging, and we are no further ahead; the two voices are just as far apart, after Hythloday's paradoxical praise of the Utopian Commonwealth, as they were at the end of Book I. The deliberately literally open-ended nature of the conclusion forces the reader to take a position on the debate in Book I, and on the possibilities of Utopian society in Book II. Part of the perennial fascination of More's Utopia has been precisely the polyvalent and multi-layered nature of the work which has sparked such a tremendous variety of responses from readers across the centuries. In both Books I and II, we are left with a vision rather than a program---a vision both complex and enigmatic, profoundly serious and playfully ironic, at once passionately committed and yet {114} philosophically detached.


3.7 Conclusion

55. Despite the brevity of Book I (thirty-two pages of Latin text in the Yale Edition, thirty-six pages if one also includes the ending of Book II), compared to the 'Discourse on Utopia' in Book II (CW 4, 110--236: sixty-four pages of Latin), the structure of Book I is in many ways more complex and problematic than that of Book II. Book II is divided into several sections within the text itself, some of which it is true cover more matters than the titles indicate.[113] Book I has no clear divisions. The only clues as to structure are supplied by the possibly-authorial marginal glosses.[114]

56. The great danger for modern readers of Utopia is to quickly skip over the 'matter' of Book I, and plunge straightway into the 'Discourse on Utopia' in Book II. (Indeed, Book II of Utopia is often anthologised or excerpted by itself without Book I.) I hope I have shown from the preceding close reading/analysis that Book I is very carefully constructed and that whatever the order of composition of Utopia, Book I is clearly not an afterthought, as some critics like Hexter have argued, tacked on later after More had already composed Book II.

57. While the main focus of this chapter has been to treat the structure of Book I of Utopia in isolation, it is clear that there are many places in the first Book, especially in the examples of various imaginary societies that Hythloday gives, that point forward to the matter of Book II. Similarly, though it lies beyond the scope of this chapter, a careful reading of Book II would undoubtedly reveal many places where the 'Discourse on Utopia' in Book II points back to the 'Dialogue of Counsel' in Book I, especially when Hythloday compares Utopian with European customs, usually to the disadvantage of the latter. The Utopia as it has come down to us is clearly a coherent whole. I think it would have been a much 'lesser' work if More had only published Book II by itself in some earlier 'unrevised' {115} version. Book I does prepare the reader for the 'matter' of Book II, by raising all the crucial issues beforehand. In many ways it is a brilliant 'setup'. If it had been much longer, the author's intentions might have become too obvious. The reader is being set up. More's contemporary humanist audience recognised this, as all the in-jokes of the parerga clearly reveal.

58. Because the matter of Book I was so intensely topical and relevant to the issues of the day, it is perhaps harder for modern readers to appreciate than Book II. However, More's first readers, as the prefatory letters---especially Budé's, recognised, could see in the debate between Hythloday and Persona More the fundamental crisis of contemporary humanism as to whether the new humanist learning could be used effectively to reform society. The matter of Book II was clearly for them a 'Utopian' dream---fit only for an after-dinner conversation. But the reality of the world that they had to confront was that of Book I (though Book I is at the same time itself a work of fiction). Not that Book II does not deal with fundamentally serious issues. However, neither More, nor his humanist contemporaries, would have made the mistake of nineteenth- and twentieth-century 'utopian' socialists and communists of trying to build the kingdom of God on earth. Every attempt to do so has led to a totalitarian nightmare, and, as the demise of Russian communism has shown, perhaps it was an impossible dream all along. What remains, then, is a vision, rather than a program---a vision that will no doubt continue at once to tantalise and delight, to elude and frustrate its readers for many generations to come, irrespective of the fate of modern day communist regimes. The longing for 'Paradise', in one form or another, is too deeply planted in the human heart for it ever to be successfully rooted out. {116}



[1] See Surtz's discussion of the various editions in Utopia, Vol. 4 of The Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More (hereafter CW 4), ed. E. Surtz, and J. H. Hexter (New Haven: Yale UP, 1965), cxxv--cxciv. All citations of the Yale edition made by page and line number, even when quoting the English translation, refer to the Latin text, not to the translation, which unlike the translations in later volumes of the Yale Edition has separate line numbering.

[2] Written after Book II, according to Erasmus in his 'Letter to Ulrich von Hutten' (1519): "Vtopiam hoc consilio aedidit, vt indicaret quibus rebus fiat vt minus commode habeant respublicae; sed Britannicam potissimum effinxit, quam habet penitus perspectam cognitamque. Secundum librum prius scripserat per ocium, mox per occasionem primum adiecit ex tempore. Atque hinc nonnulla dictionis inaequalitas." Allen, #999, 4: 21/256--61. ["Utopia he published with the purpose of showing the reasons for the shortcomings of a commonwealth; but he represented the English commonwealth in particular, because he had studied it and knew it best. The second book he had written earlier, when at leisure; at a later opportunity he added the first in the heat of the moment. Hence there is a certain unevenness in the style." CWE 7: 23/279--24/284.] (cf. [12])

[3] The Utopia of Sir Thomas More (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1895).

[4] Lateinische Litteraturdenkmäler des XV. und XVI Jahrhunderts, Vol. XI (Berlin: Weidmann, 1895); cf. CW 4, cxci.

[5] Utopia (London: Bell, 1910); cf. CW 4, cxci.

[6] L'Utopie ou le traité de la meilleure forme de gouvernement (Paris: E. Droz, 1936; rpt. Geneva: Librairie Droz, 1983); rev. by A. Prévost, "Une rétrospective: Le facsimilé de l'Utopie éditée par Marie Delcourt," Moreana 85 (1985): 67--82. The reprint includes Delcourt's 1966 French translation.

[7] "Clavis Moreana: The Yale Edition of Thomas More," JEGP 65 (1966): 318--30; rpt. in Essential Articles, 215--28, 616, esp., 219.

[8] Essential Articles, 220.

[9] L'Utopie de Thomas More: Présentation, Texte Original, Apparat Critique, Exégèse, Traduction et Notes (Paris: Mâme, 1978); rev. by J. Gury, Moreana 61 (1979): 13--18.

[10] More's Utopia (Oxford: Blackwell, 1923); cf. CW 4, cxciii--cxciv.

[11] See C. H. Miller, "The English Translation in the Yale Utopia: Some Corrections," Moreana 9 (1966): 57--64 and ELN 3 (1965/66): 303--09. For more reviews see Editions: Reviews of the Yale Edition of Utopia in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[12] In his discussion of the composition of Utopia (CW 4, xv--xxiii), Hexter makes much of Erasmus's casual remark in his letter to Ulrich von Hutten (quoted in note [2] above) that More composed Book I of Utopia after Book II. At least two of the reviewers of the Yale edition cast doubt on this, see C. H. Miller, ELN 3 (1965/66): 306--07 and M. Delcourt, Latomus 25 (1966): 305. Whether composed later or not, Book I is clearly not an afterthought. More could easily have had the idea for Book I in mind even as he he was composing Book II. He certainly had a good Platonic precedent for the structure of Utopia (a short 'dialogue' followed by a longer 'oration'): namely, the Timaeus. {117}

[13] Peter Giles speaks only at the beginning (and at the very end) of the Dialogue of Counsel. I have chosen to signify the voice in the "Dialogue of Counsel" that is identified as More's by the title "Persona More", one could just have easily identified it as "Character More", by analogy with Character Chaucer in the The Canterbury Tales. See A. Mortimer, "Hythlodaeus and Persona More: The Narrative Voices of Utopia," Cahiers Elisabethains 28 (1985): 25--26. It goes without saying that Persona More is as much a fictional character as is Character Chaucer. The closest comparison is, however, with More's own Dialogue Concerning Heresies, where there are two voices "quod I [I said]" and "quod he [he said]", which I have identified, in my chapter on this work, as "Chancellor More" and the "Messenger". Similarly, in the Latin of Book I of Utopia, the change in voices between Persona More and Hythloday is always signalised by "inquam" and "inquit" (with identical meaning to "quod I" and "quod he" respectively). Unfortunately, the Yale translation obscures this by varying the verbs used in the translation, see Germain Marc'hadour's criticisms of the Yale edition in "Here I Sit: Thomas More's Genius for Dialogue," Thomas More: Essays on the Icon, ed. D. Grace and B. Byron (Melbourne: Dove Publications, 1980), 16--17.

[14] See CW 4, 569, note to 248/2 for possible reasons for this omission.

[15] See Allen, #467, 2: 346/13--17 and #481, 2: 372/62--70.

[16] The Yale edition also includes part of Beatus Rhenanus's prefatory letter to the edition of More's Epigrams (252), which was bound in the same volume as the November 1518 edition of Utopia. The order of the prefatory materials in the 1516--1518 editions is given in CW 4, clxxxiii--clxxxix. I have also consulted the Scolar Press facsimile of the 1516 edition (Leeds, England: Scolar P, 1966), and the microfilm of the 1518 edition.

[17] See Allen, #461, 2: 389/1--3; CWE, 4: 66/2--4. For an extensive analysis of the "Prefatory Letter to Giles", see E. McCutcheon, My Dear Peter: The Ars Poetica and Hermeneutics for More's Utopia (Angers: Éditions Moreana, 1983).

[18] Sed tamen mi Petre tu illud age quod dixi cum Hythlodaeo. postea tamen integrum erit hac de re consultare denuo. Quanquam si id ipsius uoluntate fiat: quandoquidem scribendi labore defunctus: nunc sero sapio: quod reliquum est de aedendo: sequar amicorum consilium: atque in primis tuum.

[19] For biographies of the contributors, see P. R. Allen, "Utopia and European Humanism: the Function of the Prefatory Letters and Verse," SRen 10 (1963): 91--107; and Contemporaries of Erasmus: A Biographical Register of the Renaissance and Reformation, ed. P. G. Bietenholz and T. B. Beutscher, 3 vols. (Toronto, U of Toronto P, 1985--87).

[20] Libellus vere aureus nec minus salutaris quam festiuus de optimo reipublicae statu, deque noua Insula Vtopia authore clarissimo viro Thoma Moro inclytae ciuitatis Londinensis ciue & vicecomite cura M. Petri Aegidii Antuerpiensis, & arte Theodorici Martini Alustensis, Typographi almae Louaniensium Academiae nunc primum accuratissime editus. (An asterisk (*) means that I have modified the translation quoted.)

[21] [21a] Interea quemadmodum haud possum omnibus assentiri quae dicta sunt, alioqui ab homine citra controuersiam eruditissimo simul & rerum humanarum peritissimo, ita facile confiteor permulta esse in Vtopiensium republica, quae in nostris ciuitatibus optarim uerius, quam sperarim.

[22] See More's "Second Letter to Giles," CW 4, 248/1--252/7.

[23] elegantium, utiliumque institutorum seminarium, unde translatitios mores in suam quisque ciuitatem importent & accommodent.

[24] See Chapter 2, n.35, most of which also applies to Utopia. The possibly authorial marginal glosses of the early editions have been of some help in making my analysis of the subdivisions. {118}

[25] See Chapter 2, n.35 above.

[26] Book I of Utopia is roughly fourty percent the length of the Latin version of Richard III. In addition, the average length of the subsections is only two pages instead of three. This helps to make the effect of the transitions and twist and turns in the argument in Book I of Utopia even more intense and disorienting than in the History of Richard III.

[27] "Quum non exigui momenti negocia quaedam inuictissimus Angliae Rex Henricus eius nominis octauus... cum serenissimo Castellae principe Carolo controuersa nuper habuisset, ad ea tractanda, componendaque, oratorem me legauit in Flandriam, comitem & collegam uiri incomparabilis Cuthberti Tunstalli..." Tunstall was a close friend of More and Erasmus and was head of the diplomatic mission.

[28] See CW 4, 295, note to 46/8. The standard account of More's involvement in this embassy is by E. Surtz, "St. Thomas More and His Utopian Embassy of 1515," Catholic Historical Review 39 (1953): 272--93. This is greatly to be preferred to the highly tendentious account by J. H. Hexter, co-editor with Surtz of the Yale Edition, in CW 4, Appendix A: "More's Visit to Antwerp in 1515," 573--76. See Colin Starnes, Appendix: "On Hexter's account of More's Visit to Antwerp in 1515," in The New Republic: A Commentary on Book I of More's Utopia Showing its Relation to Plato's Republic (Waterloo, Ont.: Wilfrid Laurier UP, 1990), 109--11. (cf. [34])

[29] Occurrerunt nobis Brugis (sic enim conuenerat) hi, quibus a principe negocium demandabatur, egregij uiri omnes... ubi semel atque iterum congressi, quibusdam de rebus non satis consentiremus, illi in aliquot dies uale nobis dicto, Bruxellas profecti sunt, principis oraculum sciscitaturi.

[30] Ego me interim (sic enim res ferebat) Antuerpiam confero. Ibi dum uersor, saepe me inter alios, sed quo non alius gratior, inuisit Petrus Aegidius Antuerpiae natus.

[31] See CW 4, 299, note to 48/2--3.

[32] patriae desyderium, ac laris domestici, uxoris, & liberorum, quorum studio reuisendorum nimis quam anxie tenebar (iam tum enim plus quatuor mensibus abfueram domo) magna ex parte mihi... leuauerit.

[33] uides inquit hunc? (simul designabat eum cum quo loquentem uideram) eum inquit iam hinc ad te recta parabam ducere. Venisset inquam pergratus mihi tua causa. Imo, inquit ille, si nosses hominem, sua. Nam nemo uiuit hodie mortalium omnium, qui tantam tibi hominum, terrarumque incognitarum narrare possit historiam. quarum rerum audiendarum scio auidissimum esse te. Ergo inquam non pessime coniectaui. Nam primo aspectu protinus sensi hominem esse nauclerum. Atqui inquit aberrasti longissime: nauigauit quidem non ut Palinurus, sed ut Vlysses: imo uelut Plato.

[34] See CW 4, 301, note to 48/30--31 and D. Baker-Smith, More's Utopia (London: HarperCollinsAcademic, 1991), 90--91. On the theme of the Platonic voyage, see D. Baker-Smith, Thomas More and Plato's Voyage: An Inaugural Lecture given on 1st June 1978 at University College Cardiff (Cardiff: University College Cardiff Press, 1978). C. Starnes looks at the influence of Plato's Republic on More's Utopia in The New Republic (see note [28] above). For other studies of More's Platonism see the section Classical and Medieval Sources: More and Plato in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[35] The name "Hythloday" is usually explained as "well-learned in nonsense," see CW 4, pp. 301--302, note to 48/31--32; while Raphael is the name of one of the Archangels, and guide to Tobit in the Book of Tobit. This makes Raphael Hythloday into something of an inspired nonsense-speaker, somewhat akin to Moria, or Dame Folly, in the Praise of Folly. In recent years, much has also been made of Hythloday as an unreliable narrator in Book II. See the sections Utopia: Raphael Hythloday as Narrator and Utopia through the Ages: More and Erasmus in the Bibliographical Appendix. {119}

[36] orbis terrarum contemplandi studio Americo Vespucio se adiunxit, atque in tribus posterioribus illarum quatuor nauigationum quae passim iam leguntur, perpetuus eius comes fuit.

[37] More's "Taprobane" (CW 4, 50/17, cf. note on pp. 303--04), was almost certainly Ceylon, but at a later stage in the Renaissance it was identified with Sumatra, see G. W. Whiting, "Milton's Taprobane," RES 13 (1937): 209--12. See also Richard Pace, De fructu qui ex doctrina percipitur: The Benefit of a Liberal Education, ed. and trans. F. Manley and R. S. Sylvester, Renaissance Society of America, Renaissance Texts Series 2 (New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co. for the Renaissance Society of America, 1967), 108--9, 173--74.

[38] India and Ceylon provide an important connection between Books I and II of Utopia. Antwerp, the setting of Book I, was one of the greatest mercantile cities of Europe in the early sixteenth century. It served as the chief centre for the sale of pepper, cinnamon and other spices that the Portuguese brought back from India and Ceylon and the Far East. It was the bankers of Antwerp who had largely financed the expansion of the Portuguese Empire in the early sixteenth century and in return Antwerp, through the Portuguese feitoria, the Casa da India, that the Portuguese kings maintained there, was made the major centre in Europe for the Portuguese spice trade. It should be recalled that the destination of Vespucci's Fourth Voyage, on which Hythloday sailed, was India. The discovery of Brazil was only made by accident.

[39] The whole question of Utopian geography is quite vexed. But one thing needs to be pointed out here: in 1515, neither More nor any of his contemporaries had any idea of how vast the Pacific Ocean was. More obviously thought Brazil and India were quite close to each other. On the question of More's knowledge of geography, see the section Geography in Utopia: Geography and Maps in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[40] tum ubi nos mutuo salutassemus, atque illa communia dixissemus, quae dici in primo hospitum congressu solent, inde domum meam digredimur, ibique in horto considentes in scamno cespitibus herbeis constrato, confabulamur.

[41] "quod per aquam ratibus, per terram curru peragebant" (CW 4, 50/33).

[42] "non pessime institutas magna populorum frequentia respublicas" (CW 4, 52/1--2).

[43] The Pacific Ocean is not indicated as such on the very early sixteenth-century maps, such as Waldseemüller's. Instead, the new discoveries in the Americas are indicated as a collection of islands off the coast of Asia. If More's knowledge of geography was not purely classical, neither was it completely modern. See also the section Geography in Utopia: Geography and Maps in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[44] Caeterum ubi longius euectus sis, paulatim omnia mansuescere. caelum minus asperum, solum uirore blandum, mitiora animantium ingenia, tandem aperiri populos, urbes, oppida, in his assidua non inter se modo, ac finitimos, sed procul etiam dissitas gentes, terra marique commercia.

[45] The desciption here is at least vaguely reminiscent of the Arab dhow and the Chinese junk.

[46] His enim de rebus & nos auidissime rogabamus, & ille libentissime disserebat, omissa interim inquisitione monstrorum, quibus nihil est minus nouum. Nam Scyllas & Celenos rapaces, & Lestrigonas populiuoros, atque eiuscemodi immania portenta, nusquam fere non inuenias, at sane ac sapienter institutos ciues haud reperias ubilibet. {120}

[47] In the Middle Ages there was a whole genre of travel literature ('The Wonders of the East') that grew out of the Alexander Romances of the Hellenistic period, such as the Pseudo-Callisthenes. The most famous mediaeval travel account, Mandeville's Travels, is part 'Pilgrimage to Jerusalem' and part 'Wonders of the East.' Mandeville is a forerunner of Hythloday in that he too circumnavigates the globe. Mandeville even made use of real travel accounts, such as Marco Polo's. This process of assimilating real contemporary travel accounts to fictional models (of accomodating the new to the old) is also very much at work in Utopia, though More's treatment of Geography is more Classical than Mandeville's.

[48] "At in illo nouo orbe terrarum, quem circulus aequator uix tam longe ab hoc nostro orbe semouet: quam uita moresque dissident..." It needs to be pointed out that "nouus orbis" was a rather flexible term in the sixteenth century and could include any region strange and unfamiliar to Western Europeans---not only the Americas, but also most of Africa and Asia, and even at times Eastern Europe (Sarmatia [Poland] and Muscovy).

[49] "Caeterum ut multa apud nouos illos populos adnotauit perperam consulta, sic haud pauca recensuit, unde possint exempla sumi corrigendis harum urbium, nationum, gentium, ac regnorum erroribus idonea, alio, ut dixi, loco a me commemoranda. Nunc ea tantum referre animus est, quae de moribus atque institutis narrabat Vtopiensium, praemisso tamen eo sermone, quo uelut tractu quodam ad eius mentionem reipublicae deuentum est." Surely, one of the most ironic passages in the whole of Utopia, since the rest of Book I is spent castigating the vices of European society, to which the virtues of Utopia society in Book II are held up by Narrator Hythloday as a great counter-example.

[50] "alia hic, alia illic errata, utrobique certe plurima, tum quae apud nos, quaeue item sunt apud illos cauta sapientius" (CW 4, 54/10--11).

[51] Miror profecto mi Raphaël, inquit, cur te regi cuipiam non adiungas, quorum neminem esse satis scio, cui tu non sis futurus uehementer gratus, utpote quem hac doctrina, atque hac locorum hominumque peritia non oblectare solum, sed exemplis quoque instruere, atque adiuuare consilio sis idoneus....

[52] "Hoc est inquit ille, una syllaba plusquam seruias" (CW 4, 54/27--28).

[53] At ego sic censeo inquit Petrus, quoquo tu nomine rem appelles, eum tamen ipsam esse uiam, qua non alijs modo & priuatim, & publice possis conducere, sed tuam quoque ipsius conditionem reddere feliciorem.

[54] Felicioremne inquit Raphaël, ea uia facerem, a qua abhorret animus? Atqui nunc sic uiuo ut uolo, quod ego certe suspicor paucissimis purpuratorum contingere.

[55] Tum ego, perspicuum est inquam te mi Raphaël, neque opum est, neque potentiae cupidum, atque ego profecto huius tuae mentis hominem non minus ueneror ac suspicio, quam eorum quemuis, qui maxime rerum sunt potentes. Caeterum uideberis plane rem te atque isthoc animo tuo tam generoso, tam uere philosopho dignam facturus, si te ita compares, ut uel cum aliquo priuatim incommodo ingenium tuum atque industriam, publicis rebus accomodes, quod numquam tanto cum fructu queas, quanto si a consilijs fueris magno alicui principi, eique (quod te facturum certe scio) recta atque honesta persuaseris.

[56] Itaque in haec superba, absurda, ac morosa iudicia, cum saepe alibi, tum semel in Anglia quoque incidi. Obsecro inquam, fuisti apud nos? Fui inquit, atque aliquot menses ibi sum uersatus, non multo post eam cladem, qua Anglorum occidentalium ciuile aduersus regem bellum miseranda ipsorum strage compressum est.

[57] Similarly in the Dialogue of Comfort, the dialogue supposedly takes place in 1527--1528, about seven to eight years before the actual writing of the work.

[58] uiro mi Petre (nam Moro cognita sum narraturus) non autoritate magis, quam prudentia ac uirtute uenerabili. {121}

[59] "nonnunquam suspendi uiginti in una cruce" (CW 4, 60/10). Cardinal Morton's household consisted mainly of lawyers, see bibliography in Chapter 2, n.80 above.

[60] At non sic euades inquam.

[61] Ad haec ille, atqui nobis inquit, hoc hominum genus in primis fovendum est. In his enim, utpote hominibus animi magis excelsi ac generosioris, quam sunt opifices aut agricolae, consistunt uires ac robur exercitus, si quando sit confligendum bello.

[62] adeo periculum nullum est, ne quorum ualida & robusta corpora (neque enim nisi selectos dignantur generosi corrumpere) nunc uel elanguescunt ocio, uel negocijs prope muliebribus emolliuntur, ijdem bonis artibus instructi ad uitam, & uirilibus exercitati laboribus effoeminentur.

[63] ut homines deuorent ipsos, agros, domos, oppida uastent ac depopulentur.

[64] quid aliud quaeso quam facitis fures, & ijdem plectitis?

[65] Book II, chapters 16 and 17 (CW 12, 160--87); and Book III, chapters 5 to 16 (pp. 206--44).

[66] Sed interim abs te mi Raphäel perquam libenter audierim, quare tu furtum putes ultimo supplicio non puniendum quamue aliam poenam ipse statuas, quae magis conducat in publicum.

[67] Omnino mihi uidetur inquam pater benignissime homini uitam eripi propter ereptam pecuniam prorsus iniquum esse. Siquidem cum humana uita ne omnibus quidem fortunae possessionibus paria fieri posse arbitror. Quos si laesam iustitiam, si leges uiolatas, hac rependi poena dicant, haud pecuniam: quid ni merito summum illud ius, summa uocetur iniuria?

[68] nullius institutum gentis magis probo, quam id quod interea dum peregrinabar, in Perside obseruatum apud uulgo dictos Polyleritas adnotaui, populum neque exiguum, neque imprudenter institutum, & nisi quod tributum quotannis Persarum pendit regi: caetera liberum ac suis permissum legibus. Caeterum quoniam longe ab mari, montibus fere circumdati, & suae terrae nulla in re malignae contenti fructibus...

[69] Nunquam inquit istud sic stabiliri queat in Anglia, ut non in summum discrimen adducat rempublicam....

[70] ... non est, inquit, procliue diuinare, commodene an secus res cessura sit, nullo prorsus facto periculo. Verum si pronuntiata mortis sententia, differri executionem iubeat princeps, atque hunc experiatur morem, cohibitis asylorum priuilegijs. Tum uero si res comprobetur euentu esse utilis, rectum fuerit eam stabiliri. alioqui tunc quoque afficere supplicio eos, qui sunt ante damanti, neque minus e republica fuerit, neque magis iniustum, quam si nunc idem fieret, nec ullum interea nasci ex ea re potest periculum. Quin mihi certe uidentur errones quoque ad eundem posse modum non pessime tractari, in quos hactenus tam multis aeditis legibus, nihil promouimus tamen.

[71] Is ergo, dicente quodam e conuiuis: Iam meo sermone bene prouisum esse furibus, atque a Cardinale etiam cautum de erronibus, restare nunc uti his praeterea consuleretur publicitus, quos ad egestatem morbus aut senectus impulisset, atque ad labores unde uiui possit, reddidisset impotes.

[72] Sine, inquit, me. nam ego & hoc recte ut fiat uidero.

[73] At ne sic quidem, inquit, extricaberis a mendicis, nisi nobis quoque prospexeris fratribus. {122}

[74] This episode reflects More the author's own criticisms of the abuses of monastic life, which he makes in a Letter to a Monk and elsewhere, and contrasts with the Buthrescae, the hard working ascetics of Book II of Utopia (CW 4, 224/23--226/19).

[75] En mi More, quam longo te sermone oneraui, quod tam diu facere plane puduisset me, nisi tu & cupide flagitasses, & sic uidereris audire, tanquam nolles quicquam eius confabulationis omitti, quae quanquam aliquanto perstrictius, narranda tamen mihi fuit omnino propter eorum iudicium, qui quae me dicente spreuerant, eadem rursus euestigio non improbante Cardinale, etiam ipsi comprobarunt, usque adeo assentantes ei, ut parasiti quoque eius inuentis, quae dominus per iocum non aspernabatur, adblandirentur & serio propemodum admitterent. Vt hinc possis aestimare quanti me ac mea consilia aulici forent aestimaturi.

[76] For More's treatment of Cardinal Morton in Utopia and Richard III, see bibliography in Chapter 2, n.80 above.

[77] See C. Starnes, "More's Criticism of the Platonic Doctrine of the Philosopher/King," The New Republic, 56--74.

[78] quin te plane putem, si animum inducas tuum, uti ne ab aulis principum abhorreas, in publicum posse te tuis consilijs plurimum boni conferre.

[79] quam procul aberit felicitas, si philosophi regibus nec dignentur saltem suum impartiri consilium?

[80] Hic, inquam, in tanto rerum molimine, tot egregijs uiris ad bellum sua certatim consilia conferentibus, si ego homuncio surgam, ac uerti iubeam uela, omittendam Italiam censeam & domi dicam esse manendum, unum Galliae regnum fere maius esse, quam ut commode possit ab uno administrari, ne sibi putet rex de alijs adijciendis esse cogitandum. Tum si illis proponerem decreta Achoriorum populi, Vtopiensium insulae ad Euronoton oppositi....

[81] hanc orationem quibus auribus mi More, putas excipiendam? Profecto non ualde pronis inquam.

[82] "In suscepti diadematis diem Henrici Octavi," in C. H. Miller, et al., eds., Latin Poems, vol. 3, part II of The Yale Edition of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More (New Haven: Yale UP, 1984), #19, pp. 100--13, especially lines 26--45, 90--127. Henry VIII in fact executed Henry VII's officers, Empson and Dudley, after his coronation.

[83] For example, the Case of Richard Hunne in 1514, which More dealt with later in Book III of the Dialogue Concerning Heresies,---see Chapter 5, n.11 below for bibliography.

[84] ita nullam causam eius tam aperte iniquam fore, in qua non aliquis eorum uel contradicendi studio, uel pudore dicendi eadem, uel quo gratiam ineant, apud eum aliquam reperiant rimam, qua possit intendi calumnia. Sic dum iudicibus diuersa sentientibus, res per se clarissima disputatur, & ueritas in quaestionem uenit, ansam commodum regi dari, pro suo commodo ius interpretandi. caeteros aut pudore accessuros, aut metu, sic intrepide fertur postea pro tribunali sententia. Neque enim deesse praetextus potest pronuncianti pro principe. Nempe cui satis est aut aequitatem a sua parte esse, aut uerba legis, aut contortum scripti sensum, aut quae legibus denique omnibus praeponderat, apud religiosos iudices principis indisputabilem praerogatiuam.

[85] eoque magis ad principem eam pertinere curam, ut populo bene sit suo, quam ut sibi, non aliter ac pastoris officium est, oues potius quam semet pascere, quatenus opilio est.

[86] Book III, Chapters 18--20, CW 12, 250--280. {123}

[87] Haec ergo atque huiusmodi si ingererem apud homines in contrariam partem uehementer inclinatos, quam surdis essem narraturus fabulam?

[88] Surdimissimis inquam, haud dubie. neque hercule miror, neque mihi uidentur (ut uere dicam) huiusmodi sermones ingerendi, aut talia danda consilia, quae certus sis nunquam admissum iri. Quid enim prodesse possit, aut quomodo in illorum pectus influere sermo tam insolens, quorum praeoccupauit animos, atque insedit penitus diuersa persuasio? Apud amiculos in familiari colloquio non insuauis est haec philosophia scholastica. Caeterum in consilijs principum, ubi res magnae autoritate aguntur, non est his rebus locus.

[89] See the section Utopia: Book One, Europe, the 'Dialogue of Counsel,' and Reform in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[90] Hoc est, inquit ille, quod dicebam non esse apud principes locum philosophiae.

[91] Imo inquam est uerum, non huic scholasticae, quae quiduis putet ubiuis conuenire, sed est alia philosophia ciuilior, quae suam nouit scenam, eique sese accommodans, in ea fabula quae in manibus est, suas partes concinne & cum decoro tutatur. Hac utendum est tibi.

[92] & quod in bonum nequis uertere, efficias saltem, ut sit quam minime malum. Nam ut omnia bene sint, fieri non potest, nisi omnes boni sint, quod ad aliquot abhinc annos adhuc non expecto.

[93] Quanquam ille meus sermo ut fuerit ingratus illis, atque molestus, ita non uideo cur uideri debeat usque ad ineptias insolens. Quod si aut ea dicerem, quae fingit Plato in sua Republica aut ea quae faciunt Vtopienses in sua....

[94] Mea uero oratio... alioquin quid habuit, quod non ubiuis dici, uel conueniat, uel oporteat?

[95] Quippe non est ibi dissimulandi locus, nec licet conniuere. approbanda sunt aperte pessima consilia, & decretis pestilentissimis subscribendum est. Speculatoris uice fuerit, ac pene proditoris, etiam qui improbe consulta maligne laudauerit. Porro nihil occurrit, in quo prodesse quicquam possis, in eos delatus collegas, qui uel optimum uirum facilius corruperint, quam ipsi corrigantur, quorum peruersa consuetudine uel deprauaberis, uel ipse integer atque innocens, alienae malitiae, stultitiaeque conuertere....

[96] mihi uidetur ubicunque priuatae sunt possessiones, ubi omnes omnia pecunijs metiuntur, ibi uix unquam posse fieri, ut cum Republica aut iuste agatur, aut prospere....

[97] ut sanentur uero atque in bonum redeant habitum, nulla omnino spes est, dum sua cuique sunt propria.

[98] At mihi inquam contra uidetur, ibi nunquam commode uiui posse, ubi omnia sint communia. Nam quo pacto suppetat copia rerum, unoquoque ab labore subducente se? utpote quem neque sui quaestus urget ratio, & alienae industriae fiducia reddit segnem.

[99] Verum si in Vtopia fuisses mecum, moresque eorum atque instituta uidisses praesens, ut ego feci, qui plus annis quinque ibi uixi, neque unquam uoluissem inde discedere, nisi ut nouum illem orbem proderem....

[100] The last speech of Giles is on CW 4, 55/29--32, although Hythloday does address him a little later as "my dear Peter [mi Petre]" (58/20).

[101] Atqui profecto inquit Petrus Aegidius, aegre persuadeas mihi, melius institutum populum in nouo illo, quam in hoc noto nobis orbe reperiri....

[102] quibus si fides haberi debet, prius apud eos erant urbes, quam homines apud nos. {124}

[103] For a possible source for the shipwreck incident (which mystified the Yale editors, cf. CW 4, 383, note to 108/3), see J. D. M. Derrett's account of a fourth century A. D. interpolation in the Palladius on the Races of India and the Brahmans in "The Theban Scholasticus and Malabar in c.355--360," Journal of the American Oriental Society 82 (1962): 21--31.

[104] Et ut illi uno statim congressu quicquid a nobis commode inuentum est, fecerunt suum: Sic diu futurum puto, priusquam nos accipiamus quicquam quod apud illos melius quam nobis est institutum.

[105] nec uelis esse breuis, sed explices ordine, agros, fluuios, urbes, homines, mores, instituta, leges, ac denique omnia, quae nos putes uelle cognoscere.

[106] The are a number of brief descriptions of some of Utopia's neighbours in Book II, which are even more similar in function to the exempla of Book I, e.g. the Anemolians (152/26--156/9), the Nephelogetes and Alaopolitans (200/17--23), and the Zapoletans (206/7--208/13).

[107] See the sections The Conclusion of Utopia and Utopia: Pleasure and Moral Philosophy in the Bibliographical Appendix.

[108] Descripsi uobis quam potui uerissime eius formam Reipublicae quam ego certe non optimam tantum, sed solam etiam censeo, quae sibi suo iure possit Reipublicae uendicare uocabulum.

[109] Itaque omnes has quae hodie usquam florent Respublicas animo intuenti ac uersanti mihi, nihil sic me amet deus, occurrit aliud quam quaedam conspiratio diuitum, de suis commodis Reipublicae nomine, tituloque tractantium.

[110] e qua cum ipso usu sublata penitus omni auiditate pecuniae, quanta moles molestiarum recisa, quanta scelarum seges radicitus euulsa est? Quis enim nescit fraudes, furta, rapinas, rixas, tumultus, iurgia, seditiones, caedes, proditiones, ueneficia, cotidianis uindicata potius quam refrenata supplicijs, interempta pecunia commori, ad haec metum sollicitudinem curas, labores, uigilias, eodem momento quo pecunia perituras. quin paupertas ipsa, quae sola pecunijs uisa est indigere, pecunia prorsus undique sublata, protinus etiam ipsa decresceret.

[111] ... nisi una tantum belua, omnium princeps parensque pestium superbia, reluctaretur.

[112] Haec ubi Raphaël recensuit, quanquam haud pauca mihi succurrebant, quae in eius populi moribus, legibusque perquam absurde uidebantur instituta, non solum de belli gerendi ratione, & rebus diuinis, ac religione, alijsque insuper eorum institutis, sed in eo quoque ipso maxime, quod maximum totius institutionis fundamentum est uita scilicet, uictuque communi, sine ullo pecuniae commercio, qua una re funditus euertitur omnis nobilitas, magnificentia, splendor, maiestas, uera ut publica est opinio decora atque ornamenta Reipublicae....

[113] De urbibus, de magistratibus, de artificiis, de commerciis mutuis, de peregrinatione utopiensium, de servis, de re militari, de religionibus utopiensium. The section 'On Utopian Travel', for example, also deals with their 'hedonistic' moral philosophy.

[114] On the possible identities of the glossator (More, Peter Giles or Erasmus), and on the role of the glosses as providing yet one more level of 'dialogue', see D. G. McKinnon, "The Marginal Glosses in More's Utopia: The Character of the Commentator," Renaissance Papers, 1970, ed. D. G. Donovan (Columbus, SC: The Southeastern Renaissance Conference: 1971), 11--19.

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