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Thomas More (1478-1535), English statesman, author and saint, was a lawyer, politician and diplomat, a leading member of the Renaissance of northern Europe and a defender of the Roman Catholic faith. In the history of political thought More is remembered as the author of Utopia, a little book which gave rise to a genre of literature and a name for a mode of theorising, which explicitly criticises existing political and social arrangements from a radical perspective and also offers new ideals and illustrates how these might be realised in an imaginery society.

For over four hundred years the meaning of More's Utopia has confounded scholars. Many of the ideas advanced in the book, e.g. on rational religion and religious toleration, seem to be at odds with the events of More's political career and his practical religious position. Moreover there is much disagreement about the meaning and importance of the substantial satiric elements it contains.

This collection contains a great variety of authoritative articles which not only investigate More's life and the influences on his work, but also offer the reader a selection of the various interpretations and comparisons of his writings that scholars have made in the course of this century.

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