Thursday, April 29, 2010

A most important misunderstanding

In 1516, [Sir Thomas] More produced the short novel Utopia, a portrait of a happy island nation whose benevolent ruler advocates communal property, religious freedom, and marital separation. Utopia spawned an entire genre of literature, and apart from the Bible it’s hard to imagine a book that has proven to be so influential. Utopia borrows heavily from both Lucian and In Praise of Folly, which makes our current moment the quincentennial of the gestation period (1509-1516) of what is perhaps the most important novel in the history of mankind.

Oddly, the book succeeded only because most people misunderstood it.

--J.C. Hallman, Drifted toward Dragons: Utopia Today

2 comments:

Girl Detective said...

I just watched "A Man for All Seasons" the other night, a contrasting portrait of More to the one in Hilary Mantel's "Wolf Hall".

Marie said...

he's such an interesting historical figure. fascinating.