In Utopia, Thomas More gives us a traveller’s account of a newly discovered island where the inhabitants enjoy a social order based on natural reason and justice, and human fulfilment is open to all. As the traveller, Raphael, describes the island to More, a bitter contrast is drawn between this rational society and the custom-driven practices of Europe. So how can the philosopher try to reform his society? In his fictional discussion, More takes up a question first raised by Plato and which is still a challenge in the contemporary world. In the history of political thought few works have been more influential than Utopia, and few more misunderstood.
First published in 1516, this work is one of the most important works of European humanism. This translation seeks to do justice to the full range of More’s rhetoric, and includes an introduction that outlines some of the problems the text raises.