Written by Thomas More

Publisher: More
Pages: 359
Genre: Political philosophy, Satire
Published: 1516-01-01
Original Language: Latin

In his most famous and controversial book, Utopia, Thomas More imagines a perfect island nation where thousands live in peace and harmony, men and women are both educated, and all property is communal. Through dialogue and correspondence between the protagonist Raphael Hythloday and his friends and contemporaries, More explores the theories behind war, political disagreements, social quarrels, and wealth distribution and imagines the day-to-day lives of those citizens enjoying freedom from fear, oppression, violence, and suffering. Originally written in Latin, this vision of an ideal world is also a scathing satire of Europe in the sixteenth century and has been hugely influential since publication, shaping utopian fiction even today.

Read from 2023-02-06 to 2023-02-16
Read in English
Rating: 3.5/5
Review: It seems that most of the discussion around Utopia is “What is this actually?” Is it a genuine vision of the perfect world? A work of Satire? A joke?

To me it reads like a very interesting thought-experiment. I think it’s quite clear that the ideal world that is being described is in no way ideal. If anything, the island of Utopia seems more like a prison island designed to maximise output than like an ideal community. However, it’s a very interesting thought-experiment with a lot of interesting ideas. Some might be genuinely good, others are presented in a way which makes it very evident (at least when read today) why they would never work in reality.

In any case, it was very interesting to read the origins of the phrase Utopia - and, if what was written hear was meant (or, perhaps more likely, taken) seriously, it’s also interesting to see how times have changed.