Inspiring, provocative, prophetic, and enigmatic, Utopia is the literary masterpiece of a visionary statesman and one of the most influential books of the modern world.
Based on Thomas More’s penetrating analysis of the folly and tragedy of the politics of his time and all times, Utopia (1516) is a seedbed of alternative political institutions and a perennially challenging exploration of the possibilities and limitations of political action.
This Norton Critical Edition is built on the translation that Robert M. Adams created for it in 1975. For the Third Edition, George M. Logan has carefully revised the translation, improving its accuracy while preserving the grace and verve that have made it the most highly regarded modern rendering of More’s Renaissance Latin work.
“Backgrounds” includes a wide-ranging selection of the major secular and religious texts—from Plato to Amerigo Vespucci—that informed More’s thinking, as well as a selection of the responses to his book by members of his own humanist circle and an account by G. R. Elton of the condition of England at the time More wrote.
“Criticism” now offers a more comprehensive survey of modern scholarship, adding excerpts from seminal books by Frederic Seebohm, Karl Kautsky, and Russell Ames, as well as selections from stimulating and influential recent readings by Dominic Baker-Smith and Eric Nelson. In the final section, on “Utopia’s Modern Progeny,” the opening chapter of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World is now complemented by excerpts from another great work in the complex tradition of utopian and dystopian fiction, Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. Throughout the Third Edition, the editorial apparatus has been thoroughly revised and updated.
An updated Selected Bibliography is also included.
About the Author
George M. Logan (Ph.D. Harvard) is a Senior Fellow of Massey College in the University of Toronto and the James Cappon Professor of English Emeritus at Queen’s University, Canada, where he was head of the English Department for nine years and an award-winning teacher. He is the author of The Meaning of More’s Utopia and principal editor of the Cambridge edition of Utopia (Latin and English), editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Utopia (3rd edition), More’s History of King Richard the Third, and The Cambridge Companion to Thomas More, and coeditor, with Gordon Teskey, of Unfolded Tales: Essays on Renaissance Romance; he has also written a history of the Indiana University School of Music.
Robert M. Adams was Professor of English (Emeritus) at the University of California at Los Angeles. He was the author of many books, including Ikon: John Milton and the Modern Critics; Strains of Discord; Proteus, His Lies, His Truth: Discussion of Literary Translation; The Land and Literature of England; and Shakespeare—The Four Romances. In addition to the Norton Critical Edition of Utopia (he was translator and editor of the First and Second Editions), Professor Adams was editor of five other Norton Critical Editions, including The Prince by Machiavelli, Candide by Voltaire, and The Praise of Folly and Other Writings by Erasmus, the texts of which he also translated. He was a founding editor of The Norton Anthology of English Literature.