Category Archives: Thomas More’s Utopia

Renaissance Humanism

Renaissance Humanism – the spirit of learning that developed at the end of the middle ages with the revival of classical letters and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood.


Leonardo da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man

Used as perfect human figure. Principal source of human proportion.

Ever have a bad day and think back to better days wishing life could be like that? That’s what the Renaissance Humanists thought! And they put it into action, copying off the classical era.



“Father of Humanism”

LeonardoBruni poggio_bracciolini

Poggio Bracciolini and Coluccio Salutati

Two other notable Renaissance Humanists

By the mid 1400s many of the upper class people received humanist educations. Some of the higher church officials were humanist, like Cardinal Basilios Bessarion.

Because of large-scale printing, humanism spread to France, Germany, Holland, and England. In England it associated with the Protestant Reformation.


Many humanists were members of the church

  • Pope Pius II
  • Sixtus IV
  • Leo X
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Posted by on November 10, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia





“If you don’t believe in anything supernatural – gods, ghosts, immaterial souls and spirits – then you subscribe to naturalism.”

There is a single, natural world or universe, in which we are completely included.”

Science is the basis for naturalism.”

Naturalism gives us self-control and leads to self-acceptance.”

“Naturalism can help improve interpersonal relationships.”

Naturalism entails a profound shift in our self-understanding, which in turn has deep implications for both the person and society.”

Intro to Naturalism


Naturalism Tweet

Naturalism is “the philosophical belief that everything arises from natural properties and causes. Supernatural or spiritual explanations are not included.”

  1. Naturalism was a literary movement from the 1880s to 1930s that used realism to suggest that social conditions, heredity, and environment had great force in shaping human character.
    Naturalistic Literature strives to depict the world in an honest, straightforward way.
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia



Pieter Gillis (Peter Giles)

1486-1533 (Book was published in 1516)

Peter is derived, via Latin “petra”, from the Greek word πέτρος (petros) meaning “stone” or “rock”
Pieter GIllis

Pieter was a printer and town clerk in Antwerp, where the novel takes place. He was a friend of Thomas More and is a character in More’s Utopia. Erasmus and Gillis were good friends of More and decided to show their friendship by giving More portraits of themselves, created by Quentin Massys, a year after Utopia was published.
Left: Erasmus; Right: Gillis

Humanism in the Italian renaissance went back to the thinking of Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece, where they focused more on individual worth and the present life, versus uniform religion and the afterlife.

Humanists, such as Gillis, were happy in the present life by striving to be their best, instead of worrying about if they were going to heaven or not.

Peter helped write Utopia by verifying its accuracy and it is said that Utopia was dedicated to Gillis. He also contributed to the Utopian alphabet.

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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia




The City of Antwerp

The Flag of Antwerp

Antwerp Medieval Castle:

Tour of Antwerp: 

Facts about Antwerp:

The Setting in Utopia:

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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia





Raphael means “It is God who heals”

Archangel is an angel of high rank

In the Christian religion, he performs all manners of healing and in Islam, Raphael is the fourth major angel.

Heals people’s mind, body and spirit.

Associated with the angel mentioned in the Gospel of John as stirring the healing pool of Bethesda.

To the Catholic religion, he only appeared in the Book of Tobit.  He appeared disguised in human form as a traveling companion of Tobit’s son, Tobiah.  On the course of their journey, his protective influence was shown by binding a demon is the desert of Egypt.  They return Raphael heals Tobit, making it known that he is one of seven angels who stand before the Lord.

Raphael became a Saint and is the patron of travelers, the blind, happy meetings, nurses, physicians, medical workers, matchmakers, Christian marriage, and Catholic studies.

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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia



Utopian and Dystopian Literature

Utopian fiction is the creation of an ideal society, or utopia, as the setting for a novel. The biggest issues that cause conflict are solved in the novel: there is no longer war, illness, poverty, or inequality. Sometimes a more enlightened group helps guide the novels society to a better world.

        New Harmony by F. Bate, Example Of A Utopia

        Depiction Of A Utopia From By F. Bate


  • peaceful government
  • equality for citizens
  • access to education, welfare and unemployment
  • a safe environment

Examples: Utopia by Sir Thomas More and Erewhon by Samuel Butler


Utopia sets out a vision of an ideal society. As the title suggests, the work presents an ambiguous and ironic projection of the ideal        state.

Erewhon, like much of the Utopian literature, can be seen as Utopian satire. It is most notable in the inversion of illness and                   crime, with punishment for the former and treatment for the latter.

Dystopian fiction is the opposite: creation of an utterly horrible or degraded society that is generally headed to an irreversible oblivion, or dystopia.


  • usually a controlling, oppressive government or no government
  • either extreme poverty for everyone or a huge income gap between the richest characters and the poorest characters
  • propaganda controlling people’s minds
  • freethinking and independent thought is banned

Examples: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronic Roth and 1984 by George Orwell

                                          Front Cover

The Hunger Games is about a lottery in which children are picked to fight to the death. 

Divergent is about a society split into five factions based on five different personality characteristics as a method to retain control           over human nature.

1984 is an example of a dystopia in which British society, over time, became warped and transformed into an extreme totalitarian           state. In addition to controlling the press, the food, and relationships of the state’s inhabitants, the manipulation and control of               human thought itself is the goal of this regime.

Both the Utopian and Dystopian Literature is found in speculative fiction (science fiction, fantasy, horror, supernatural, apocalyptic, alternative history, or other type of fiction that is not strictly realistic) or science fiction stories.


        Combination is when the novel combines both a Utopia and a dystopia, often as a metaphor for the different directions humanity           can take in its choices, ending up with one of two possible futures.

        Examples: Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift and The Giver by Lois Lowry

                                            Front Cover                             Front Cover

        In Gulliver’s Travel, Lemuel Gulliver visits, Brobdingnag and Country of the Houyhnhnms approach a utopia; the others have                   significant dystopian aspects.

        In The Giver, the world is described as a utopia, but as the book progresses, the world’s dystopian aspects are revealed

        Ecotopian Fiction is where the author posits either a Utopian or dystopian world revolving around environmental conservation or             destruction.

        Example: Nature’s End by  Whitley Strieber and James Kunetka


        Nature’s End posits a future in which overpopulation, pollution, climate change, and resulting super storms, have led to a popular             mass-suicide political movement.

        Feminist Utopias contrasts the present world with an idealized society, criticizes contemporary values and conditions, sees men         or masculine systems as the major cause of social and political problems, and presents women as equal to or superior to men.

        Example: Golden Witchbreed by Mary Gentle’s


         In Golden Witchbreed, gender is not chosen until maturity, and gender has no bearing on social roles.

        By Kari W.

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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Thomas More's Utopia