“Utopia” by Thomas More

UtopiaIn Utopia, More paints a vision of the customs and practices of a distant island, but Utopia means ‘no place’ and his narrator’s name, Hythlodaeus, translates as ‘dispenser of nonsense’. This fantastical tale masks what is a serious and subversive analysis of the failings of More’s society. Advocating instead a world in which there is religious tolerance, provision for the aged, and state ownership of land, Utopia has been variously claimed as a Catholic tract or an argument for communism andit still invites each generation to make its own interpretation.

Three people attended the meeting on 1 July to discuss Utopia by Thomas More. It was fairly well enjoyed by those attending who gave it an average score of 7.

The group felt that it was a very good analysis of social life with a lot of relevance to the modern day. Proposed solutions were felt to be nice (to a point) but unworkable, with a complete dependence on religion as both the carrot and the stick.

There was some discussion as to whether it could be considered a novel and we thought that perhaps it could – but not a very ‘novelly’ novel! The group felt glad to have read it even if was a little tedious or difficult to understand in places.

Some information about the name from Wikipedia:

“Utopia” is derived from the Greek words eu (ευ), “good”, ou (οὐ), “not”, and topos (τόπος), “place”, with the suffix -iā (-ία) that is typical of toponyms; hence Outopía (ΟὐτοπίαLatinized as Utopia, with stress on the second syllable), both “no-place-land” as well as “good-place-land”. In early modern EnglishUtopia was spelled “Utopie”, which is today rendered Utopy in some editions.

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