IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Deepening the Irony of Utopia: An Economic Perspective

Listed author(s):
  • Samuel Bostaph
Registered author(s):

    Until recently, St. Thomas More's Utopia generally had been regarded as a serious work of social criticism and the expression of his social ideal, although there are widely differing views of More's specific intent in writing it. As many have argued, Utopia addresses a crucial politico/economic question: what is the best way of life? Historians of economic thought in particular have taken the work at face value and, with few exceptions, have given it short shrift. Other scholars within the humanities have examined it more seriously and at greater length, a few even raising the question of possible ironic or satirical intent, given that irony was one of More's characteristic rhetorical devices. Gerard Wegemer's recent interpretation that More's main purpose in writing Utopia was ironic places major emphasis on the element of irony that pervades the work. This article adds economic arguments to existing literary and biographical ones to buttress this assessment that Utopia is an irony, written to undercut rather than to advance the idealization of a communist social order.

    If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

    Article provided by Duke University Press in its journal History of Political Economy.

    Volume (Year): 42 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 2 (Summer)
    Pages: 361-382

    in new window

    Handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:361-382
    Contact details of provider: Postal:
    Duke University Press 905 W. Main Street, Suite 18B Durham, NC 27701

    Phone: (919) 660-1800
    Fax: (919) 684-8974
    Web page:

    No references listed on IDEAS
    You can help add them by filling out this form.

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:hop:hopeec:v:42:y:2010:i:2:p:361-382. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Center for the History of Political Economy Webmaster)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.