Dear colleagues and students,
We cordially invite you to the opening talk of this semester’s colloquium series in the Program in Cultures, Civilizations and Ideas. Dr. Joanne Paul of Sussex University will examine Thomas More’s “Utopia” in the broader context of its author’s philosophical and literary career. The talk will begin at 12:40 in the Art Gallery, Central Campus Library on Wednesday, November 1. Dr. Paul will take questions at the conclusion to her talk. Sandwiches and refreshments will be available.
An abstract of Dr. Paul’s talk is below.
CCI Colloquium Committee:
Dr. Joanne Paul
History Department and Centre for Early Modern and Medieval Studies
“Utopia” in the Context of More’s Thought
Wednesday, November 1, 12:40.
This talk seeks to shed light on the central message of More’s Utopia by examining it within the context of More’s central concerns as a thinker throughout his literary career. First, this requires rejecting a long-standing assumption within the literature on More (and the period in general) that draws a firm dividing line between work from the pre- and post-Reformation periods. Second, and more contentiously, it requires establishing that More held on to some central ideas and arguments from his earliest writings to his last. In particular, one such recurring argument for More is moral priority assigned to what is held in common, which he connects to concepts such as death, pride and politics in a variety of his works, both from the period before he wrote Utopia and after it. From this reading, we are able to see the same themes at work in Utopia, and understand More’s intentions in writing it more clearly: to remind readers of the true reality of our commonality, and the falsity of a world based on private interests.