A comparative study of four utopias of the renaissance period : More's Utopia, Rabelais' The Abbey of Theleme, Campanella's The city of the sun, and Bacon's New Atlantis
Fish, Beryl Skinner
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Lovers of literature will agree that the study of utopias is most interesting. I have always been intrigued by More’s Utopia and have glibly made use of the phrase "a utopian state of affairs” as meaning something that could never materialize. In the second semester of 1955, I enrolled in English 560, Elizabethan Non-Dramatic Literature. Under the inspiration and stimulating guidance of Dr. Maude Uhland, the class made a rather detailed study off More’s Utopia. I had, up to this time, been casting about in my mind for a subject suitable for a research paper to be submitted as a qualifying paper for a master’s degree. It occurred to me that a comparative study of the four best known utopias of the Renaissance period might be of unusual interest and of some cultural value. I have by no means exhausted the literature on the subject, but have done as much research as time has permitted and will, in the pages that follow, present my findings. I trust that this paper will prove interesting to all who are interested in the Renaissance so it spread from Italy and France into England, beginning at the close of the fifteenth century and extending through the sixteenth century. There ere other utopias which reflect the naturalism of the Renaissance, some of which are "Christisnopolis" by J. V. Andrase, which shows the spirit of the Protestant reformation; then another German utopia is "Nova Solyun" by S. Galt. Other utopias ore Joseph Hall's "Mundus Alter et Idem" and Bishop's Godiven's "The Man in the Moon." I have chosen to consider the four best known and widely read utopias of the period: More's Utopia; Rabelais' "Abbey of Theleme;" Campanella's City of the Sun; and Bacon's New Atlantis.