Utopia – Saint Thomas More
Download Utopia ebook. Utopia (Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia) is a work of fiction and socio-political satire by Thomas More (1478–1535) published in 1516 in Latin. The book is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its religious, social and political customs. Many aspects of More’s description of Utopia are reminiscent of life in monasteries.
The title De optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia literally translates, “Of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”.
It is variously rendered as any of the following:
De optimo rei publicæ deque nova insula Utopia
Standard English Translations
On the Best State of a Republic and on the New Island of Utopia
Concerning the Highest State of the Republic and the New Island Utopia
On the Best State of a Commonwealth and on the New Island of Utopia
Concerning the Best Condition of the Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia
On the Best Kind of a Republic and About the New Island of Utopia
About the Best State of a Commonwealth and the New Island of Utopia
The original name was even longer: Libellus vere aureus, nec minus salutaris quam festivus, de optimo rei publicae statu deque nova insula Utopia. This translates, “A truly golden little book, no less beneficial than entertaining, of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia”.
“Utopia” is derived from the Greek prefix “ou-” (οὐ), meaning “not”, and topos (τόπος), “place”, with the suffix -iā (-ία) that is typical of toponyms; hence the name literally means “nowhere”, emphasizing its fictionality. In early modern English, Utopia was spelled “Utopie”, which is today rendered Utopy in some editions.
A common misunderstanding has that “Utopia” is derived from eu- (eὐ), “good”, and “topos”, such that it would literally translate as “good place”.
In English, Utopia is pronounced exactly as Eutopia (the latter word, in Greek Εὐτοπία [Eutopiā], meaning “good place,” contains the prefix εὐ- [eu-], “good”, with which the οὐ of Utopia has come to be confused in the English pronunciation). This is something that More himself addresses in an addendum to his book Wherfore not Utopie, but rather rightely my name is Eutopie, a place of felicitie.
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Sir Thomas More (/mɔːr/; 7 February 1478 – 6 July 1535), venerated in Catholicism as Saint Thomas More, was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, statesman, and noted Renaissance humanist. He was also a councillor to Henry VIII, and Lord High Chancellor of England from October 1529 to 16 May 1532. He wrote Utopia, published in 1516, about the political system of an imaginary, ideal island nation.
More opposed the Protestant Reformation, in particular the theology of Martin Luther and William Tyndale. More also opposed the king’s separation from the Catholic Church, refusing to acknowledge Henry as Supreme Head of the Church of England and the annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. After refusing to take the Oath of Supremacy, he was convicted of treason and beheaded. Of his execution, he was reported to have said: “I die the King’s good servant, and God’s first.”
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