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Utopia

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3.53  ·  Rating details ·  55,966 ratings  ·  2,613 reviews
16th-century classic by English ecclesiastic and scholar envisioned a tolerant, patriarchal island kingdom free of private property, violence, bloodshed and vice. Forerunner of many later attempts.
Paperback, 154 pages
Published January 30th 1965 by Penguin Classics (first published 1516)
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Betsy Yes! I totally remember it, and after reading the book I find it comical that Drew Barrymore's character acts like she's so all about Utopia because…moreYes! I totally remember it, and after reading the book I find it comical that Drew Barrymore's character acts like she's so all about Utopia because it doesn't really fit with the her character or the plot of the movie.
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Pheetah Well, if you compare with the books in the same scope, Utopia is easy to understand...

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Henry Avila
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
As the centuries roll by, more and more books are written about Utopian societies that should be established on Earth, but the few actually tried... fail. Sir Thomas or Saint Thomas More, depending on your affiliation, Utopia , ( greatly influenced by Plato's The Republic) is a satire about tumultuous English politics published in 1516. Raphael Hythloday a Portuguese traveler when Portugal ruled the seas with a very unlikely name for a native of that country.

He recites the story of his life,
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 05, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels

Thomas More's life blah blah feudalism, in which virtually all power resided with enormous white ducks while the peasants had to wear roller skates even in bed. The late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries blah blah Renaissance, a flowering of platform heel shoes and massive shagging blah blah Italy blah blah large glands. Aspects of this blah blah the ducks. Blah blah discovery of smaller ducks, at first denied by Pope Barbary VII. Vasco da Gama proved ducks were American not from Byzantium
...more
Ryan
Jan 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The term 'utopia' in the way we use it today, to refer to an ideal but unattainable state, comes from this book, which More wrote in 1516. The form is political critique disguised as fantasy disguised as travelogue. More casts himself as the recorder of Raphael Hythloday's travels to the island of Utopia, where, despite their lack of Christianity, the people are closer to realizing the Christian ideal society through rational government than Europe ever was. Today serious criticism doesn't have ...more
James
Review
FYI - Read years ago, wrote review in college... Thomas More was the first to coin the word “utopia.” More was the son of a court judge, and a page to Archbishop Morton throughout his youth in London. He was profoundly affected not only by these two great gentlemen, but also by the philosophy of humanism that was spread by Erasmus during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in Europe. As a result of More’s fanatical advocacy of socialism and communism, he was tried, and later executed
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Florencia
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was published in 1516 and it's divided into two parts. The first one made my eyes feel exhausted, so I can sum up all that just by saying that More found his friend Peter and this one introduced him to a fella named Raphael, a man who visited several countries to satisfy his desire to see the world. He shared some opinions of the political scenario of his time (a bit familiar; whether you are talking about yesterday's kingdoms or today's democratic governments, some things never ...more
Luís C.
From the Greek meaning "happy place," Utopia is an ideal country described by Raphael Hythlodaeus, who observed his organization during his many travels.
Based on a collectivist basis, since the property does not exist, life in this company has some advantages: 6 hours of daily work (compared to France in 1840, the legal working week was 78 hours!), Insurance of food to eat, and be properly dressed, no death penalty (at that time in England a simple larceny enough to be hanged), no war (the state
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Madeline
Interesting, mostly just because it's cool to see what people (or at least Thomas More) considered to be an ideal society back then. Because really, it isn't.

There's a lot that I thought was really strange about Utopia (Latin for "no place"), but here's what I remember most: when parents are considering marrying their children off, they have the two teenagers stand naked in front of each other (accompanied by dependable chaperones, of course) so they can make sure neither of them has any weird
...more
Dan
Jul 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Not a book that I can recommend for enjoyment, masterful prose or good storytelling. Rather I think the value in reading is to see the backwardness of a Utopia envisioned by Thomas More, an ‘enlightened’ man for the times. Of course it is easy to be judgmental about his writings when looking in the rearview mirror at a book nearly 500 years old.

More, a high level adviser to King Henry VIII envisions an island nation, ‘Utopia’ where they don’t engage in wars and where there is a great deal of
...more
Lynne King
Painful like pulling teeth...An experience not to be repeated.
El
Apr 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
(I read this book as part of a reading project I have undertaken with some other nerdy friends in which we read The Novel: A Biography and some of the other texts referenced by Schmidt.)

In 1516, some guy called Thomas More put out this little book describing a fictional place called Utopia. What kills me about this little book is that More wrote it in Latin. Latin. I can barely write in English most days.

So this island of Utopia shows a completely organized society where everyone seems to be
...more
Darwin8u
Jun 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
You wouldn't abandon ship in a storm just because you couldn't control the winds.
-- Thomas More, Utopia

description

After reading Hilary Mantel's amazing first two Booker-prizing winning books of her Henry VIII trilogy (Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies), I felt I needed to actually bust into Thomas More's Utopia. How could I consider myself educated and not have at least tasted a bit of More's utopian ideal, his veiled criticisms of European culture and values, and his unobtainable vision of the ideal
...more
Jon Nakapalau
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is another book that I had to read because the title become a word in English...I liked the fact that Thomas More was looking for solutions; solutions we are still looking for in this age of globalization - when every country has their own utopian vision. Perhaps that is the "utopian paradox" - how can we all live in peace with differing definitions of utopianism?
Mahdy
Sep 19, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thomas More is traveling in the Low Countries when he sees his friend, Peter Giles. Giles introduces him to a well-traveled friend of his, Raphael Hythloday.

Raphael speaks of many countries and their policies and laws, and freely criticizes the laws of their own countries.He then begins speaking of a country, Utopia, which he thinks is ruled very well and is a perfect country.

More begs Raphael to speak more of Utopia, and he does. He first tells of their towns, which are all as identical as
...more
Mir
Jul 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ideas
More's fusion of Christianity, socialism, and republicanism reflects his humanist conception of an ideal society, and in so doing constitutes criticism of contemporary English society. More argues that virtue is natural and something for which all humans have an innate desire. He characterizes virtue more concretely than most philosophers of his day, defining it as doing the utmost to increase happiness (found primarily in simple pleasures) for all. The state should remain minimal and intervene ...more
Dee Arr
In a classic what-was-I-thinking moment, I purchased “Utopia,” a 600-year-old book billed on Amazon as a “…fiction and socio-political satire.” I am two-thirds of the way through the book, and I am guessing that satire meant something else in the early 1500s.

The book actually reads as a long-winded, mostly one-sided conversation, almost like reading ancient philosophy. As I plowed further and further into the book, I began to create furrows of my own. While I suppose it is unfair to inject today
...more
Gary Inbinder
I first read Thomas More’s “Utopia” fifty years ago in a college English Lit. course. At the time, my knowledge of More was limited to “A Man for All Seasons,” a film I’d seen, and very much liked, when it was first released in 1966. When I read “Utopia”, about two years after I viewed the film, I was bothered by what appeared to be contradictions within the text and also between the text and the character of its author. For example, compare a quote from “Utopia” on the subject of religious ...more
Bettie
Jun 08, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC Radio Listeners
Recommended to Bettie by: Literature of the English Country House
JAN 2017: Youtube 6mins 54secs

utopia vs. dystopia 6mins 18secs

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06y9b6t

Description: 2016 is the 500th Anniversary of Thomas More's classic work of speculative fiction, which has entered the culture so deeply that the name of his fictional island is the accepted term for our hopes and dreams of a better society. Poet Michael Symmons Roberts dramatisation brings More's strange and enchanting island to
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BAM The Bibliomaniac
Classics Cleanup Challenge #9
Audio #157

I'm going to be completely honest with y'all because we're all friends here, right? I only read this because I felt like I should have by this point in my life. Good lord I practically slept through it. So dull, but the narrator was good so I think that may have increased my star rating?
Piyangie
Utopia is Thomas More's response to Plato's The Republic . In Utopia, More introduces the "ideal society" through a fictitious state of the same name of which location is unclear. According to More, this ideal society is a model of equality and justice. There are gender equality and no class structure. The Utopian society enjoys shared living; all property and wealth are held in common. There are no private properties. There is a rigid structure of governance and conduct of society and every ...more
David Sarkies
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Social Reformers
Recommended to David by: Star Trek
Shelves: philosophy
The perfect society as a critique of Tudor England
30 November 2013

I was going to open this commentary with 'where no man has gone before' until I realised that the opening to Star Trek is actually 'Space, the final frontier' and then rambles on a bit more before saying 'to boldly go where no man has gone before'. You may be wondering why I am connecting a book written by a 16th century clergy man with a very popular science-fiction series from the 1960s, and in some cases I may be asking that
...more
booklady
From the Intro to the Kindle edition: ‘More’s “Utopia” was written in Latin, and is in two parts, of which the second, describing the place ([Greek text]—or Nusquama, as he called it sometimes in his letters—“Nowhere”), was probably written towards the close of 1515.’

This was a surprise to me as I thought ‘utopia’ meant someplace idyllic. By definition, ‘an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect.’ Synonyms are paradise, heaven (on earth), Eden, Garden of Eden,
...more
Delirious Disquisitions
Thomas Moore’s Utopia is a two part thesis outlining the fictional country of Utopia and its people as the measure of what a perfect commonwealth should look like. Book I acts as a prologue to the main story in Book II. Here we are introduced to Moore, his friend Peter Giles, and a fictional character named Raphael who acts as our primary source into the Republic of Utopia. In Book I, Moore takes his time to lay out the current political, geographic, economic, and social scene in England during ...more
Amanda
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this classic piece of literature. Unlike some other reviewers, I don't think it is meant to be a model for a real society. It is in fact a quixotic idea of what a perfect society might look like, but I am not going to criticize a work of fiction just because it is not necessarily a realistic plan for a real state/country/world.

That being said, I do believe the purpose of More's work is to make people seriously consider some of the things that are wrong with our culture and
...more
Mario
Nov 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.


Well this was quite a surprise. After I read a few pages of this book, I thought that I was going to hate every single minute of reading it, but now I can say that I quite enjoyed it.

Utopia is a book about 'a good
...more
LydiaMae
Jam packed with good old fashioned wit and sarcasm. EVERYTHING has a double meaning.
Read for an university program but still thinking about all the deep meanings...
A.J.
Jan 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
If you need a reason to be a pinko communist sissy, I imagine you can do a little better than this. The Greek word for utopia actually means "no-place" or "nonsense". For the two or three of you who still haven't figured out why people use Marx's Manifesto as toilet paper, you might actually appreciate the ideas presented here, but bear in mind that it's likely not even Thomas More himself was taking it seriously.

You could call this a work of fiction as much as one of philosophy or political
...more
Owlseyes
Jul 15, 2014 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-lit, utopia


Notes collected:

"you [Raphael] neither desire wealth nor greatness"



More had been assigned by King Henry VIII to get to Flanders. In Brussels he's got a dear friend named Peter, who introduces More to this philosopher/traveller called Raphael Hythloday. His four voyages have been published; he's Portuguese by birth and knows a lot about nations and countries. He's been to Ceylon, India and many other places.

But More is puzzled: how such a man is not serving under a monarch....why not to apply
...more
Robb
May 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic book. I am really surprised I hadn't heard of this author or this book before. It has been quite a while since a book was able to affect and stimulate me on an intellectual level. Utopia is a great work that touches on so many ideas that were surprisingly well ahead of his time. He developed theories on Communism, capitalism, philosophy, religion, social justice centuries before big names such as Marx, Engles, Smith, Locke, Rawls, etc came onto the scene and told us the best ...more
Deborah
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Matthias
Aug 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, my-reviews
This book has been close to a revelation for me. It took me completely by surprise, considering these ancient books always seemed rather dry to me, however intelligent their writer. I don't know how much of this is owed to the translator, Paul Turner, but I reckon at least enough for him to merit the explicit mention here.

I used to be, I still am in fact, very fond of dystopian novels. Brave New World and 1984 are classic examples which I thoroughly enjoyed. But after reading Utopia, I'm left
...more
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Sir Thomas More (/ˈmɔːr/; 7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated by Catholics as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was a councillor to Henry VIII and also served as Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532.

More opposed the Protestant Reformation, in particular the theology of Martin Luther
...more
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“For if you suffer your people to be ill-educated, and their manners to be corrupted from their infancy, and then punish them for those crimes to which their first education disposed them, what else is to be concluded from this, but that you first make thieves and then punish them.” 792 likes
“A pretty face may be enough to catch a man, but it takes character and good nature to hold him.” 242 likes
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