By Thomas More

Rating: 4 stars

This was another book that I read for my philosophy class and another one that I enjoyed immensely. The edition that I had was a Penguin Great Reads, which strips out all editorial content and just presents the text. That, combined with a great translation, made it very easy to read. It’s also very short, at just under 140 pages.

Although I had obviously head of Utopia in the way that it’s drifted into the English language, I wasn’t hugely familiar with More’s original fictional island state. Reading it, Some of the proto-communistic ideas are interesting, but although More’s narrator states very clearly several times that there are few laws, there’s a lot of rigid social structures and the penalties for what laws there are are very harsh (slavery or death, for the most part).

I appreciate that More’s work is a critique of his own society, but I’ve been reading it as part of a discussion regarding philosophical works as blueprints for a way to run a society (cf Plato’s Republic).

All in all, Utopia sounds like an interesting place to visit, but I’m not sure I’d like to live there :).

Book details

ISBN: 9780141043692
Publisher: Penguin
Year of publication: 1516

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