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Savvy readers would eventually learn to recognize through paratextual materials what distinguished Utopia from other available travel narratives: depending on its framing devices, the work opened itself up to new contexts, new social circles, and even new social critiques. In the three editions discussed below, we may see Utopia working across a new set of historical contexts.

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As the House of Stuart rose to the throne, English citizens began to experience increasing political instabilities. The constant clashes between the Privy Council and the king would eventually lead to Civil War. The Utopia brand begins to solidify in the popular imagination by becoming a constant amongst political and social changes in England. The Latin inscription further helps readers associate More with the classical tradition.

Alsop realizes that Utopia is by now a marketable name, and that it therefore merits a new history. To fuel interest for a book whose popularity was already established, Alsop builds up its historical value as an English landmark. The reader who owns this copy can feel like he is part of this cultural inheritance even if he does not own lands and cannot claim any rights to the work itself. At the same time, however, Alsop also makes the work highly attractive to readers who might see books as status symbols.

In many ways, this is the edition that truly brands Utopia and, in turn, More as the text and author we know and edit today. As Holt has argued, the power of the brand resides not simply in the product, but in its ability to renew itself according to new consumers, new identities, and new contexts. It is not until that Utopia can emerge as a canonical text, with a praised author and a long, venerable history.

Once Utopia becomes established as genre representative of satirical criticisms of government, [8] the association with More fades into the background, leaving only a generic brand reference that authors and print agents can apply to various literary and marketing contexts. England was facing increasing poverty, loss in international trades, and out-of-control population growths. By his second edition, new social conflicts encouraged Alsop to foreground the ideological connotations of the work.

By re-focusing the new edition on its central narrative, and not so much on patronage or authorship, Alsop is able to remind English readers that the story or identity myth told by Utopia provides a space in which to rehearse their political and social anxieties. Utopia , even as it fails to resolve any of these conflicts, provides room for conversation and hope for reform. Vele and Robinson at first attempted to legitimize the work while still making it appeal to a middle-class public; Alsop repackaged More and his text as English literary landmarks.

Generic Cultural Branding. Yet, Morson qualifies this point by claiming that a distinction must be made between ideology and fiction, since the latter need not provide supporting evidence or historical groundwork for its claims. This distinction between fiction and nonfiction, however, is blurred in the case of ephemeral pamphlets, which were produced to address specific historical moments and yet often did so under the guise of a fantastical story.

It is precisely this feature that benefits these brand generics and in the seventeenth century gives print agents, writers, and readers a place to confront the political instabilities of the Civil War. The anonymous The King of Utopia his letter to the Citizens of Cosmopolis, the Metropolitan City of Utopia is perhaps the best illustration of such a trend. That this text is written after the beginning of the Civil War is also an important marker, since the island Utopia will serve as an imaginary location for resolutions on both sides.

Most of the pamphlet is overtaken by obscure references and metaphors. The absent monarch embodies the land itself, placed under a domestic conflict that he cannot resolve without his citizens.

Thomas More

Reality and fiction coexist in this generic Utopia: the author, masked as translator, uses a fictional location to give voice to English struggles. Its contradictions force the reader to question the government being portrayed and to look for a solution to the problem of interpreting the text. The two letters appear to be intentionally convoluted, are often absurd and overly symbolic, and make it almost impossible to extract anything beyond the fact that the King seeks to return and that the citizens are ready to receive him.

The brand Utopia is only a promise of resolution, a hope for addressing anxieties; it does not need to offer an actual fix. This in turn leads the reader to confront and address dangerous revolutionary desires, locating them inside the text and eventually finding ways to express them in the real world. The text switches from paradoxical metaphors to sharp irony as the reader is led away from the fictional world of Utopia and reminded of the actual author of the text.

Once more, the issue of language and communication is a key element for the genre, as it gives the narrative a national, English identity.

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Because the reader is invited to identify with the citizens in the letter, he is encouraged to act like them and demand real change. This is one of the important ways in which, according to Holt, a brand can be recognized as a cultural icon: it serves to tell a story that gives voice to, and thus helps placate, social anxiety. Line For a good thing read a true subject. Page For Tyranny, read Taxations. Line 15 for Burglary read Plunder , Page For Common-wealth read Committee.

Page for Service read Sacriledge. For Bishop read Presbyter. Page 56 line 80 for Pulpit read Tub. Further, by virtue of being paratextual, these additions can escape the fictional world and speak directly to the reader. The author enacts real-world reform through the notion of textual reform, using the Utopia brand to emphasize the status of the text as political intervention.

Although other authors are much less explicit about making use of their generic Utopia brand, it is possible to see a growing trend among texts: locating in Utopia the place not for the ideal government, but for idealized, fair trials. Political critique therefore becomes more specific, tackling issues of religious persecution and social injustice.

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In The examination of Tilenus before the Triers; in order to [sic] his intended settlement in the office of a publick preacher in the commonwealth of Utopia , for instance, Bishop Laurence Womock takes on the pseudonym Tylenus to narrate a fictional dialogue. In it, Tylenus is vetted by Triers such as Dr. Absolute and Dr. Dam-Man for a preaching position in Utopia. Satire is already an embedded marker of the Utopian brand, so Womock can use its central narrative to present his arguments against the Triers and refute the Tenets of the Remonstrants through a traditional dialogue.

Although the work has no mention of Utopia or More in the narrative, the print agent clearly used the title to make the work attractive and draw in readers interested in any work with the brand Utopia on its title-page. Here, the brand-name alone is a sufficient marketing strategy. Who are now desirous to transport themselves into New England, to Amsterdam, or Utopia , which cites parliamentary traitors and condemns them to exile.

In the pamphlet, the anonymous author relates the persecution and apprehension of dissenters and guarantees that the city itself is still loyal to the king. Like Womock, the authors of this tract use the brand to avoid having to set up an intricate or misleading satire. Because the Utopia brand already represents the ironies and paradoxes of political structures, the author can deliver his message from under the protection of claiming to speak from Utopia, and not from or against England. This text is worth a closer look because it uses a variety of strategies discussed above to create an elaborate new narrative.

Although the narrative is supposed to take place on the Utopian island, Dunton does not disguise the fact that his characters represent English values: e. Conscience the Judge, Mr. Sincerity, and Mr. Because this is Utopia, all the trials are expected to automatically dispense rightful justice as Dunton sees it. Similarly, each character can only earn his final punishment after hearing the testimony of good citizens, good Christians, and honorable tradesmen. In pointing out largely irresolvable problems and an impossible resolution to dishonest behaviors in the trading and selling of goods, Dunton un intentionally satirizes his own narrative: if one were to judge every act of dishonesty done in the city, there would be no one left to serve in the jury.

Amongst the few who make it past the judge are higher-born men a knight, a gentleman, and an esquire , a priest, as well as professions that Dunton considers to be non-speculative and therefore cannot lead to excessive profits or class leverage the waterman, the grocer, a husbandman, and even a poet. Yet, the absurdity of the text calls into question the social complaint genre. Without a certain degree of capitalist enterprise, no professional especially not printers or booksellers would be able to survive, nor would they be able to compete in an increasingly speculative society. Dunton, in particular, could not have lived by the model he describes in this pamphlet and still have managed to print over books Parks.

The narrative and the framing of Utopia work together to shape the text as a marketable cultural product, teaching the reader to identify features that make it at once unique and yet reproducible. Print agents read and interpreted the work to make it appeal to their unique markets and to respond to timely historical contexts. However, while doing that, each agent helped define recognizable aspects of the text that could be repeated, copied, and reproduced in generic form.

Considering Utopia as an iconic brand—one which survives precisely for its ability to tell different stories and create new identity myths with each historical change—can offer readers and scholars of Thomas More a new way to understand the multiplicity of narratives contained within this single book. While it is not likely that the average reader encountered or even read more than one or two versions of the text, this analysis of brand generics proves that Utopia was a culturally pervasive text across social and class divisions.

Nonetheless, his decision to publish a reprint suggests there was still a market for Utopia even forty years after Vele. Yet, the organization and behavior of the Utopians proves to be less than ideal. For a discussion of the ways in which More sets up this failure both rhetorically and thematically, see Arthur F. Although they omit the original paratexts, these editions include a preface from a religiously-reformed Burnet in hopes to regain favor with the king.

O Sir! Her analysis focuses on Utopian texts meant to produce ideal societies that should be mimicked in real life.

The author could be more familiar with an edition that contained the paratexts and felt compelled to add one to his text. In this case, the self-aware aspect of these additions helped expose the true message of the text. Works Cited. London, A Letter Found in Utopia. Passes Granted, by the Free-born People of England. Appelbaum, Robert. Baker, David Weil. Amherst: University of Massachusetts, Berneri, Marie Louise.

Journey through Utopia. London: Routledge, Boesky, Amy. Brenner, Robert. Brooks, Douglas A.


Printing and Parenting in Early Modern England. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, Cave, Terence. Manchester: Manchester UP, Claeys, Gregory. Restoration and Augustan British Utopias. Davis, J. Dunton, John. Hythloday is a fictional character who describes his recent voyage to the paradisal island of Utopia. Throughout the work, Hythloday. Working as an advisor to King Henry VIII, More was aware of the issues of his time such as ridiculous inflation, corruption, wars for little or no purpose, courtly ostentation, the abuse of power by the absolute monarchs, and the maltreatment of the poor.

Consequently, More used Utopia to contrast some unique and refreshing political ideas with the chaotic politics of his own. The goal of education is to learn, and in this process of learning and being educated there are some greater goals that are served. The idea of instilling among his subjects a sense of. Inspired by More's belief in the elevation of human manners, education, and morals, the text also concedes to the omnipresent traditions of European society.

Thomas More's Utopia Essays

While More accepts parentage of the text, he distances himself from its radical notions and thinly veiled condemnation of Europe's establishment. Through the use of a benign narrator, Raphael Hythloday. What is it about Thomas More's Utopia that makes it as accessible and relevant to a 21st century westernized Catholic teenage boy as it did to an 18th century middle aged Jewish women? Utopia, a text written odd years ago in differing country and language, is still a valid link to a contemporary understanding of society, human nature and morals.

Through More's Utopia, it becomes evident that the trans-historical and trans-cultural nature of the text emerges through More's conscious and subconscious. Throughout Thomas More's Utopia, he is able to successfully criticize many of the political, social, and economic ways of the time. His critique of feudalism and capitalism would eventually come back to haunt him, but would remain etched in stone forever.

His last words stood as his ultimate feeling about royalty in the 15th and 16th centuries, "The King's good servant, but God's first. Thomas More's Utopia and its impact on English society during the Renaissance. The "Middle" Ages were followed by the Renaissance, a time in which art and literature flourished. Thomas More, the first English humanist of the Renaissance, was born in London during this period. More's style is simple because of its colloquial language but a deeper look into his irony hints at deep dissatisfaction with the current thought and desire for change.

Thomas More's "Utopia" was the first literary work in which the ideas of Communism appeared and was highly esteemed by all the humanists of Europe in More's time.