Реферат: Thomas More "Utopia"
THE UNIVERSITRY OF <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>LATVIA</st1:place></st1:country-region>
Faculty of ForeignLanguages
·<span Times New Roman"">Introduction
·<span Times New Roman"">“Utopia”
·<span Times New Roman"">The Second Book
·<span Times New Roman"">Conclusion
·<span Times New Roman"">Bibliography
The«dark» Middle Ages were followed by a time known in art andliterature as the Renaissance. The word «renaissance» means«rebirth» in French and was used to denote a phase in the culturaldevelopment of <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place> between the 14th and17th centuries.
ThomasMore, the first English humanist of the Renaissance, was born in <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>London</st1:place></st1:City> in 1478. Thomas More wrote in English and in Latin.The humanists of al1 European countries communicated in the Latin language, andtheir best works were written in Latin.
Hisstyle is simple, colloquial end has an unaffected ease. The work by which he isbest remembered today is «Utopia» which was written in Latin in theyear 1516. It has now been translated into all European languages.
«Utopia»(which in Greek means «nowhere») is the name of a non-existent island.This work is divided into two books.
Inthe first, the author gives a profound and truthful picture of the people'ssufferings and points out the socia1 evils existing, in <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>England</st1:place></st1:country-region> at thetime. In the second book more presents his ideal of what the future societyshould be like.
“Theword «utopia» has become a byword and is used in Modern English todenote an unattainable ideal, usually in social and political matters. But thewriter H.G. Wells, who wrote an introduction to the latest edition, said thatthe use of the word «utopia» was far from More's essentia1 quality,whose mind abounded in sound, practical ideas. The book is in reality a veryunimaginative work.” (Harry Levin, “TheMyth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance.” 1969.)
Thomas More's «Utopia» was the firstliterary work in which the ideas of Communism appeared. It was highly esteemedby all the humanists of <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place> in More's timeand again grew very popular with the socialists of the 19th century. AfterMore, a tendency began in literature to write fantastic novels on socialreforms, and many such works appeared in various countries.
Thehistorical Thomas More, the author of Utopia, was an extraordinarilycomplicated man who tied up all the threads of his life in his heroic death.The real man is to me much more interesting than the plastic creation adored byhis most fervent admirers. The Utopia is the sort of complicated book that weshould expect from so complicated a man.
Itis heavy with irony. Irony is the recognition of the distance between what wesay and what we mean. But then irony was the experience of life in theSixteenth Century — reason enough for Shakespeare to make it perhaps his mostimportant trope while the century was drawing to a close. Everywhere in church,government, society, and even scholarship profession and practice stoodseparated by an abyss.
InUtopia three characters converse and reports of other conversations enter thestory. Thomas More appears as himself. Raphael Hythlodaeusor Raphael Nonsenso, as Paul Turner calls him in hissplendid translation is the fictional traveler toexotic worlds. More's young friend of <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Antwerp</st1:place></st1:City>Peter Gillis adds an occasional word.
Yetthe Thomas More of Utopia is a character in a fiction. He cannot be completelyidentified with Thomas More the writer who wrote all the lines. Raphael Hythlodaeus's name means something like «Angel»or «messenger of Nonsense.» He has traveledto the <st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>commonwealth</st1:PlaceType> of <st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Utopia</st1:PlaceName></st1:place> with Amerigo Vespucci, seemingly thefirst voyager to realize that the world discovered by <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>Columbus</st1:place></st1:City> was indeed a new world and not anappendage of <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>India</st1:place></st1:country-region>or <st1:country-region w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>China</st1:place></st1:country-region>.
Raphaelhas not only been to Utopia; he has journeyed to other strange places, andfound almost all of them better than <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>.He is bursting with the enthusiasm of his superior experiences.
Buthow seriously are we to take him? The question has been much debated. TheThomas More in the story objects cautiously and politely to Raphael'senthusiasms.
Anyway,the main point about renaissance dialogues and declamations such as Utopia isthat their meaning depends on how we hear them. How we hear them depends onwhat we bring to them.
“Morewas one of the most thorough and consistent thinkers in the Sixteenth Century.He argued everything like the splendid lawyer he was. I believe that when weread Utopia dialectically, through his other works, we may penetrate to somedegree the ironic screen that he has thrown over the work. Even so, completecertainty about his meaning sometimes eludes us.” (Harry Levin,The Myth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance, New York, Oxford UniversityPress, 1969.)
The Second Book
Thesecond «book» or chapter in More's work – the description of theisland commonwealth somewhere in the <st1:place w:st=«on»>New World</st1:place>.I shall leave aside the fascinating first book, which is a realdialogue--indeed an argument between the travelerRaphael Nonsenso and the skepticalThomas More. I shall rather discuss the second book, Nonsenso'sdescription of this orderly commonwealth based on reason as defined by the lawof nature.Since the Utopians live according tothe law of nature, they are not Christian. Indeed they practice a form ofreligious toleration– as they must is they are to be bothreasonable and willing to accept Christianity when it is announced to them.
Whatis the Utopian commonwealth? What does the little book mean?
“Asopposed to the official feast, one might say that carnival celebrated temporaryliberation from the prevailing truth and from the established order; it markedthe suspension of all hierarchical rank, privileges, norms, and prohibitions.Carnival was the true feast of time, the feast of becoming, change, andrenewal. It was hostile to all that was immortalized and completed.” (Mikhail Bakhtin, Rabelais and His World, Indiana University Press,1984.)
Utopiaprovides a second life of the people above and beyond the official life of the«real» states of the Sixteenth Century. Its author took the radicalliberty to dispense with the entire social order based on private property, asPlato had done for the philosopher elite in his Republic.
“Butat the same time, More took the liberty to suppose a commonwealth built on thepessimism about human nature propounded by <st1:City w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>St. Augustine</st1:place></st1:City>, More's most cherished author.Augustine believed that secular government was ordained by God to restrainfallen humankind from hurtling creation into chaos. Without secular authorityto enforce peace, sinful human beings would topple into perpetual violence; sothe state exists to keep order.” (Mikhail Bakhtin)
Amajor source of violence among fallen human beings is cupidity, a form of lust.Sinful human beings have an insatiable desire for things. For Augustine therewas no end to it.
Soif we look at Utopia with More's Augustinian eye, we see a witty play on howlife might develop in a state that tried to balance these two impulses--humandepravity and a communist system aimed at checking the destructiveindividualism of corrupt human nature. It is carnival, a festival, not a planfor reform. When the carnival is over, and we come to the end of the book,reality reasserts itself with a crash. More did not see in Utopia a plan ofrevolutionary reform to be enacted in Christian Europe. Remember the subtitle
Thesix-hour working day in Utopia also represents an eternal check against thetendency of an acquisitive society to turn human beings into beasts of burdento be worked as if they had no claim over themselves. Set over against themisery of peasants depicted in the vision of Piers the Plowmanor against the child labor of early industrialAmerica or the sweatshops of modern Asia, the Utopian limitation on labor is a way of saying that life is an end in itself andnot merely an instrument to be used for someone else.
Itis perhaps also a rebuke to those of us for whom work and life come to beidentical so that to pile up wealth or reputation makes us neglect spouses,children, friends, community, and that secret part of ourselves nourished bythe willingness to take time to measure our souls by something other than whatwe produce.
Thesanitation of the Utopian cities is exemplary. The Utopians value cleanlinessand they believe that the sick should be cared for by the state. The Utopianscare for children. Education is open to all. They like music, and in an agethat stank in <st1:place w:st=«on»>Europe</st1:place>, the Utopians like nicesmells. To average English people of the Sixteenth Century – living in squalorand misery.
Butto middle-class people like ourselves, our messy and fragmented society looksgood in comparison to Utopia. Here More's Augustinian conception of sinfulhumankind becomes burdensome to the soul, for in the Utopian commonwealth,individualism and privacy are threats to the state. I suspect that we see asclearly as anywhere in Utopia just why communism did not work. The weight ofhuman depravity was simply too much to be balanced by eliminating privateproperty. Yet it is worth saying that More did not ignore that depravity.Utopia is full of it.
“Nolocks bar Utopian doors--which open at a touch.” (Thomas More,Utopia, tr. Paul Turner, London, Penguin, 1965, p. 73)The onlyreason the Utopians can imagine for privacy is to protect property; there beingno private property, anybody can walk into your house at any time to see whatyou're doing. Conformity is king. All the cities and all the houses in thecities look pretty much alike. Of the towns Raphael says, «When you'veseen one of them, you've seen them all.» (Thomas More,Utopia, tr. Paul Turner, London, Penguin, 1965, p.71)
TheUtopians change houses by lot every ten years just so they won't get tooattached to any endearing little idiosyncrasies in a dwelling. The Utopiantowns are as nearly square as the landscape will allow; that means they arebuilt on a grid. I can imagine nothing more similar to Utopian cities in ourown day than the sprawling developments outside our great cities where everyhouse looks like every other house and where even the people and the dogs inone household bear a startling resemblance to all the other people and all theother dogs in the neighbourhood.
Ithink in fact that Utopian women have a somewhat better time of it. A smallnumber of Utopians are allowed to spend their lives in study, freed from theobligation to manual labour that is imposed on everyone else. Women are amongthis privileged group. Divorce is permitted if husbands and wives provecompletely incompatible and if the case is investigated by the authorities. Buta husband is forbidden to divorce his wife merely because she has become ugly.In Utopia no old rich men throw out the old wife and take a new young trophywife in exchange. The same harsh penalties for adultery apply to both sexes.Husbands chastise their wives for offences.But erring husbands are punished by theirsuperiors in the hierarchy of men.
Utopiais a male-dominated society. Women have no political authority; that authorityis all placed in the hands of fathers. It is hard to escape the suspicion thatsexuality is stringently limited as part of a general belief that passion ofany kind is dangerous to the superior rationality that only men can possess.
Letme close by making a point that I implied above. Utopia is thus not a programfor our society. It is not a blueprint but a touchstone against which we tryvarious ideas about both our times and the book to see what then comes of itall. It helps us see what we are without telling us in detail what we aredestined to be. Utopia becomes part of a chain, crossing and uncrossing withpast and present in the unending debate about human nature and the bestpossible society possible to the kind of beings we are. Utopia becomes in everyage a rather sober carnival to make us smile and grimace and lift ourselves outof the prosaic and the real, to give ourselves a second life where we canimagine the liberty to make everything all over again, to create society anewas the wise Utopus himself did long before in Utopia.His wisdom is not ours. But it summons us to have our own wisdom and to use itas best we can to judge what is wrong in our society in the hope that ourjudgment will make us do some things right, even if we cannot make all thingsnew this side of paradise.
·<span Times New Roman"">Mikhail Bakhtin,Rabelais and His World, tr. Helene Iswolsky,Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1984.
·<span Times New Roman"">Harry Levin, The Myth of the GoldenAge in the Renaissance, <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>New York</st1:place></st1:State>,<st1:place w:st=«on»><st1:PlaceName w:st=«on»>Oxford</st1:PlaceName> <st1:PlaceType w:st=«on»>University</st1:PlaceType></st1:place> Press, 1969.
·<span Times New Roman"">More, Thomas. Utopia. Trans. PaulTurner. <st1:State w:st=«on»><st1:place w:st=«on»>New York</st1:place></st1:State>:Penguin Books, 1965.