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UTOPIA (non illustrated) Thomas More

UTOPIA (non illustrated)

Thomas More

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 About the Book 

More tells how, when he was in the Low Countries on government business, he was introduced by his friend Peter Giles to Raphael Hythloday, a veteran traveler. The long days conversation among the three men constitutes the substance of the book.When More and Giles discover how widely Hythloday has traveled and realize the depth of his understanding of the governments of many nations, they propose that his knowledge is too valuable to waste and that he ought to enter the service of some monarch as councilor in order to employ his knowledge in the service of mankind. Hythloday discourses at length on the reasons for his reluctance to undertake such employment. First, he does not believe that, as things stand, his advice would be accepted. The majority of those presently sitting in royal councils invariably practice a system of flattery toward their superiors and of personal aggrandizement and would surely override his idealistic and philosophical proposals. In support of these convictions, he relates experiences during an earlier visit to England and cites two instances of policy-making in recent international power struggles.This segment of Book I is conducted as a debate among the three men on the obligations of a man of experience and integrity to play an active role in the service of country and mankind. It is identified as The Dialogue of Counsel.In pursuit of the argument, Hythloday proceeds to a critical analysis of the patterns of law, government, economics, and mores among European nations and, most particularly, in England. His criticisms are directed specifically at the severity of the penal code, the gross inequities in the distribution of wealth, the unequal participation in productive labor, and the appropriation of farm lands for sheep grazing.Book I represents the negative side of the picture which More intends to create, the statement of what is wrong with civilization in his time. A few incidental references comparing the state of affairs in contemporary Europe with the manners and government of a nation on a remote island called Utopia leads into the discussion in the second book. (non illustrated)