Utopia (Robinson translation)

Read by Ruth Golding

(4.6 stars; 37 reviews)

Originally entitled A frutefull pleasaunt, and wittie worke of the beste state of publique weale, & of the newe yle, called Utopia: written in Latine, by ... Syr Thomas More knyght, and translated into Englishe by Raphe Robynson ...

The first book tells of the traveller Raphael Hythloday, to whom More is introduced in Antwerp. The second book consists of Hythloday's description of the island and people of Utopia, their customs, laws, religions, economy, language and relations with other nations. Hythloday portrays Utopia as an idealised state, where all property is common to all the people and money does not exist within its bounds, thus, he argues, removing all poverty, hunger and fear, and most criminal acts. More himself appears unconvinced by some of his narrator's arguments.

This is recorded from a reprint of the 1556 Robinson translation, with a foreword by William Morris. (Summary by Ruth Golding) (6 hr 3 min)


Foreword and Translator's Note 13:35 Read by Ruth Golding
Epistle 13:56 Read by Ruth Golding
Book I, part 1 24:13 Read by Ruth Golding
Book I, part 2 36:59 Read by Ruth Golding
Book I, part 3 17:44 Read by Ruth Golding
Book I, part 4 31:12 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 1: Of the Island and Cities of Utopia 18:18 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 2: Of the Magistrates; Of Sciences, Crafts and Occupations 18:55 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 3: Of Their Living and Mutual Conversation Together 15:22 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 4: Of Their Journeyng or Travayling Abrode 59:18 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 5: Of Bondemen, Sick Persons, Wedlock etc. 24:55 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 6: Of Warfare 26:40 Read by Ruth Golding
Book II, part 7: Of the Religions in Utopia 48:24 Read by Ruth Golding
Peter Giles to the Right Honourable Ierome Buslyde 8:21 Read by Ruth Golding
Utopian verses etc. 5:41 Read by Ruth Golding


Beautiful, memorable, unique, imaginative book.

(5 stars)

It's remarkable how detailed Saint Sir Thomas More was able to be w/ the isle's details. My understanding is this is the first work of conscious 'worldbuilding' fiction in history and so mythopoetic works like Tolkien's are in a kind of line of descent from it. I don't think More was sarcastic re: the goodness of Utopia as per the "conservative" reading of C.S. Lewis. The last section of Hythloday's talkk on money, was clearly critical of his own societies, and in the tale he even says he wishes rather than hopes for many of the things of Utopia to come to pass in Europe. I recommend Jason Blakely's hermenueitc on the book for ta nuanced reading (https://youtu.be/jiQKLNhppdl), More showing the dawning consciousness of our own partly contingent creation of society in his exploration of Utopia, whether or not it itself is meant as a perfect ideal (which I think it comes pretty close to, given nothing in this world can fully). The reader was lovely, giving a Victorian, refined yet ancient feel.

A Sound Recording and competent presentation

(4 stars)

Ruth did a marvelous job reading and annunciating the ideas set out long ago by Sir Thomas More. It is. worthy listen for those inclined to what might have been and what might yet be.