February 24, 2016

Utopia - Wednesday with Words

I am still working through Paradise Lost, but now its time to begin Utopia with my AO forum friends!  (This book is used in AO's year 8.)  There has been much chatter about it in the introduction threads, perhaps because the word "utopia" is commonly known but very few of us have read the book to understand *why* it became a common word.

It was written by Sir Thomas More, who was politically active and (perhaps) overly vocal.  He stood on his principles, had leaning towards priesthood before marriage came along, and eventually made an enemy of a king.  I think I'll add him to the mental list of people I want to meet in heaven. :)

Utopia (the book) was so potentially aggravating to the English that it wasn't printed in that country until after More's death; however, it was printed in several other countries and became quite popular.

I've only just begun Book 1 (of 2), and here are some catchy lines you might enjoy.

The fictitious Mr. More has just met Raphael and is impressed with his wise discourse on the governments in the lands he has seen.  (Emphasis mine.)
We asked him many questions concerning all these things, to which he answered very willingly; only we made no inquiries after monsters, than which nothing is more common; for everywhere one may hear of ravenous dogs and waves, and cruel men-eaters; but it is not so easy to find states that are well and wisely governed.
And just one page further on:
For most princes apply themselves more to affairs of war than to the useful arts of peace...they are generally more set on acquiring new kingdoms, right or wrong, than on governing well those they possess.
Hmmm.  It seems that humans and politicians don't really change over the ages, regardless of how far we think we have come as a species.

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