The Renaissance

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The Works of Thomas More

Thomas More wrote in English and in Latin. The humanists of al1 European countries communicated in the Latin language, and their best works were written in Latin. The English writings of Thomas More include:

* Discussions and political subjects.

* Biographies.

* Poetry.

His style is simple, colloquial end has an unaffected ease. The work by which he is best remembered today is "Utopia" which was written in Latin in the year 1516. It has now been translated into all European languages.

"Utopia" (which in Greek means "nowhere") is the name of a non-existent island. This work is divided into two books.

In the first, the author gives a profound and truthful picture of the people's sufferings and points out the socia1 evils existing, in England at the time.

In the second book More presents his ideal of what the future society should be like.

The word "utopia" has become a byword and is used in Modern English to denote an unattainable ideal, usually in social and political matters. But the writer H.G. Wells, who wrote an introduction to the latest edition, said that the use of the word "utopia" was far from More's essentia1 quality, whose mind abounded in sound, practical ideas. The book is in reality a very unimaginative work.

"Utopia" describes a perfect social system built on communist principles.


First book

While on business in Flanders, the author makes the acquaintance of a certain Raphael Hythloday, a sailor who has travelled with the famous explorer Amerigo Vespucci. He has much to tell about his voyages, Thomas More, Raphael Hythloday and a cardinal meet together in a garden and discuss many problems. Raphael has been to England too and expresses his surprise at the cruelty of English laws and at the poverty of the population. Then they talk about crime in general, and Raphael says:

"There is another cause of stealing which I suppose is proper and peculiar to you Englishmen alone."

"What is that?" asked the Cardinal.

"Oh, my lord," said Raphael, "your sheep that used to be so meek and tame and so small eaters, have now become so great devourers and so wild that they eat up and swallow down the very men themselves. The peasants are driven out of their land. Away they go finding no place to rest in. And when all is spent, what can they do but steal and then be hanged?"

Second Book

The disastrous state of things in England puts Raphael Hythloday in mind of a commonwealth (a republic) he has seen on an unknown island in an unknown sea. A description of "Utopia" follows, and Raphael speaks "of all the good laws and orders of this same island."

There is no private property in Utopia. The people own everything in common and enjoy complete economic equality. Everyone cares for his neighbour's good, and each has a clean and healthy house to live in. Labour is the most essential feature of life in Utopia, but no one is overworked. Everybody is engaged in usefu1 work nine hours a day. After work, they indulge in sport and games and spend much time in "improving their minds" (learning)-All teaching is free, and the parents do not have to pay any schoo1 fees. (More wrote about things unknown in any country at that time, though they are natural with us in our days.)

For magistrates the Utopians choose men whom they think to be most fit to protect the welfare of the population. When electing their government, the people give their voices secretly. There are few laws and no lawyers at all, but these few laws must be strictly obeyed.

"Virtue," says Thomas More, "lives according to Nature." The greatest of all pleasures is perfect health. Man must be healthy and wise.

Thomas More's "Utopia" was the first literary work in which the ideas of Cornmunism appeared. It was highly esteemed by all the humanists of Europe in More's time and again grew very popular with the socialists of the 19th century. After More, a tendency began in literature to write fantastic novels on social reforms, and many such works appeared in various countries.



The most significant period of the Renaissance in England falls to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. England's success in commerce brought prosperity to the nation and gave a chance to many persons of talent to develop their abilities. Explorers, men of letters, philosophers, poets and famous actors and dramatists appeared in rapid succession. The great men of the so-called "Elizabethan Era" distinguished themselves by their activities in many fields and displayed an insatiable thirst for knowledge. They were often called "the Elizabethans", but of course the Queen had no hand in assisting them when they began literary work; the poets and dramatists had to push on through great difficulties before they became well known.

Реферат опубликован: 20/01/2010