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The principal literary work of Sir T. More, is a speculative political essay written in Latin, published 1516. The subject is the search for the best possible form of government. More meets at Antwerp a traveller, one Raphael Hythloday, who has discovered ‘Utopia’, ‘Nowhere land’. Communism is there the general law, a national system of education is extended to men and women alike, and the freest toleration of religion is recognized. The work at once became popular, and was translated by Ralph Robinson into English in 1551, and into French (in 1550), German, Italian, and Spanish.

The name ‘Utopia’ (‘no place’), coined by More, passed into general usage, and has been used to describe, retrospectively, Plato's Republic, and many subsequent fictions, fantasies, and blueprints for the future, including Bacon's New Atlantis, Harrington's The Commonwealth of Oceana, Morris's News from Nowhere, and Bellamy's Looking Backward. Satirical Utopias include Swift's Gulliver's Travels and Samuel Butler's Erewhon. Many works of science fiction use the Utopian form.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Thomas More (1478—1535) lord chancellor, humanist, and martyr

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