, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thomas More (1478-1535)
Lovanij: Apud Petrum Zangrium Tiletanum, sub fonte, Anno 1566
PA8553 A2 1566

This collection of Thomas More’s works includes the original Latin text of Utopia and is likely the fourth Latin printing of the work. It also includes History of Richard III, on which Shakespeare based his play, and a piece written during More’s imprisonment in the Tower of London.

Utopia, first printed in 1516, a satire on the administration of Henry VII, puts forward political and philosophical principles of a fictional ideal state. The literary form, most likely based on Plato’s “Republic,” was later adopted by Francis Bacon and Thomas Hobbes. The title has become a word synonymous with an optimistic but impractical social reform. The book addresses, among other social ills, religious intolerance, extreme punishment for crime, unjust taxation, and disparity of wealth between social classes. The protagonist, Raphael Hythloday, discovers “Utopia” when travelling with Amerigo Vespucci. In Utopia there is no war, no crime, and no poverty.

Thomas More refused to subscribe to a new oath required by the Act of Succession (1534). For this, he was cast into the London Tower, where he was kept, tried for treason nearly a year later, convicted and beheaded.

Title-page carries Zangrius woodcut device of a fountain within a historiated fame. Woodcut initials throughout. University of Utah copy bound in seventeenth-century calf with preserved gilded spine.

Shakespeare is coming! The First Folio will arrive at the City Library in October.