Skip to content

Utopia’s Borders

The political future of the European bloc looks distressingly rough. Already in a December 2016 essay published in the Financial Times, Wolfgang Münchau warned that the “liberal capitalist order” was in peril of capsizing under what he called “uncontrolled flows of people and capital.”1 The mere fact that Münchau described these flows as “uncontrolled” signals a darkening mood in the West.2 The preferred term for a rapid and fluid circulation of capital and people in the post–Cold War order is—or at least was—“free.” The neoliberal world order is committed to, and predicated on, a free movement of people and of capital.

Borders are barriers, and barriers disrupt or inhibit movement. This is definitional. It is therefore predictable that a financial, legal, and bureaucratic formation such as the European Union would generate an intellectual elite, and inculcate a forma mentis, which finds it difficult or impossible to legitimize—or even to theorize—borders. My intention here is to begin to reexamine the problem of borders in contemporary European politics—and obliquely, in American politics—by means of a pair of early modern political novels: Thomas More’s Utopia and Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.

We now tend to think of borderlessness as the “utopian” ideal, but early utopian fiction is fixated on borders. It might be possible to argue that More and Bacon’s intense concern with borders—on which, more presently—is conditioned by the nascent mercantilist world-order of the sixteenth and seventeeth centuries. Early modern political economy was arguably no less obsessed with accumulation—and thus, in its way, with borders—than our neoliberal world order is now fixated on circulation—and borderlessness.

It is not my aim here, though, to explore the historical context or causes of the border regimes in Utopia and the New Atlantis. The basic datum that interests me is this: in antiquity, and again in early modernity, insulation is regarded as a conditio sine qua non of political and social perfection. We might recall that the English word “insulate” is derived from the Latin word insula, “island.” And as I will show, Thomas More is at great pains to make his “Utopian Republic” an island polity.3 Bacon imitates More, in this respect, in his New Atlantis.

A Place which is “No Place”

The utopian genre is half-satirical, a kind of “serious play” (serio ludere). The genre’s bite and extravagance is crucial to any interpretation, but its formal traits are conditioned by a deeper intent: legal and political critique. Beginning with More, the purpose of the modern “utopia”—a harmonious place which is “no place” (in Latin Nusquama,4 and in Greek Ou-topos)5—is to distance us from our own inharmonious place, from the clanging imperfections of a social order that we have both inherited and constructed.

There is reason, then, to engage the early modern “utopian” critique of free movement in a tense and fraying, contemporary context. The utopian genre might help us to understand the current, fractious state of Europe. Note, too, that it is the Europeans’ first encounters with the Americas that sparked a revival of the “optimal-city” genre of antiquity, and that gives the genre an unmistakably modern cast. In More’s and Bacon’s texts—and in this essay—America is on the horizon.

Given the genre’s critical function, the purpose of this essay is to ask, in a preliminary way: What is the utopian logic of borders—that is to say, of social and political insulation? For, if the early modern figure of a “utopia” has anything to contribute to political thought in our geopolitical moment, it may have something to do with the conception and protection of borders.

The Intuition of Utopian Fiction

The original utopia is, of course, Thomas More’s. Written by the English humanist and officeholder (later Lord Chancellor) when he was living in Antwerp, and first printed in Louvain, Belgium, in 1516, Utopia is a dream of hard-won insulation. In the genre that More creates, insulation is what makes possible a bold sketch of political perfection. One could even call this the basic intuition of all utopian fiction: the perfect regime is an “island.”

That this is still true of twentieth-century utopian fiction is shown by James Hilton’s interwar thriller Lost Horizon (1933). Hilton’s twentieth-century “island” regime is a Tibetan monastery, “Shangri-La,” which is sheltered high above the Himalayan cloud-line. (A mark of Lost Horizon’s political cachet is FDR’s choice of name for his Catoctin Mountain wartime retreat: Shangri-La. In 1953, Eisenhower renamed it Camp David.) Sensing the grim inevitability of wars that will “rage till . . . all human things are levelled in a vast chaos,”6 Hilton imagines that the only conceivable prospect of peace lies within the confines of “a separate culture” like Shangri-La, which can “flourish . . . without contamination from the outside world.”7 More’s Utopia is just such a “separate culture.”

Political Insulation and Geopolitical Aspiration

More’s report on “the new island of Utopia” (Nova Insula Utopia),8 and Bacon’s fable of a New Atlantis, are not only notable in terms of intellectual history. Both were written by philosopher-statesmen of the first rank: More and Bacon were both Lord Chancellors of England. In a certain sense, then, both texts have a place in the political history of Europe and the Americas. The term “utopian” still has currency in policy circles, and twenty-first-century politicians treat “utopia” as a concept with real-world political meaning—however that meaning may be assessed. In this, if in nothing else, the term remains true to More’s subtle and oblique, but genuine, intentions.

Towards the end of Utopia, More has his narrator, Raphael Hythloday (the surname is a cunning Greek portmanteau meaning, roughly, “babbler”) say that “the whole world” (totum orbem) should “adopt Utopian laws,”9 specifically the abolishment of money.10 Whatever ironies may distance More from this claim, there is no denying that he hopes in some way to influence the political order of early modern Europe. His island republic is conjured up as a source of possibilities for a vast European “republic,” the respublica Christiana, which arguably still existed in 1516, but began to irretrievably crack up in 1517 with Martin Luther’s challenge to Rome. It is precisely in light of More’s continental or even global hopes that the border regime of his Utopia must be seen.

There is no contradiction, for More, between a dream of political insulation and passionately held geopolitical aspirations. On the contrary, in Utopia, it is a vigilantly guarded political insulation which gives rise to geopolitical aspiration. More may wish that the “whole world” would eliminate money, for instance, but it is only because his republic is cut off from the “whole world” that it has succeeded in eliminating money. Such, at least, is the conceit.

In the Global Economy, but Not of It

A great deal of More’s ingenuity in Utopia goes into devising a trade policy. Utopia is in the global economy, but not of it. The island republic has amassed a vast fisc of foreign currency yet has no currency of its own. The Utopians despise gold, using it to make chamber pots and manacles.11 (This is of course a mercantilist’s nightmare.) If the Utopians conducted trade on the terms set by global custom, they would be corrupted. In order to have a domestic economy which “the whole world” should imitate, the Utopians have to shelter it.

Intriguingly, on the question of protectionist trade, a line could be drawn from Plato’s Laws, through More’s Utopia, to J. G. Fichte’s Closed Commercial State.12 The connection is not hard to discern: Fichte cites Plato and More in the first pages of his book. And Platonic political economy is a hard-headed tradition. It treats monetized trade as intrinsically political, since law is a precondition of commerce. But it also treats monetized trade as intrinsically anti-political. For, in legal and political terms, commerce liquidates. We see this most recently in the rise of cryptocurrency. Monetized trade is now threatening to liquidate money itself, since state-issued currency is a politically marked medium of exchange.

Plato would not have been shocked by this. Nor would More, who was a close reader of Plato’s Laws (a systematic influence on both Bacon and More).13 Hence there is no domestic currency in the Utopia, and trade policy is basically conducted in a Platonic way. Fichte’s proposal seems to follow both Plato and More, and he seems to have influenced John Maynard Keynes’s interwar thought. “A gradual trend in the direction of economic self-sufficiency,” Keynes wrote in 1933, “may be more conducive to peace than economic internationalism.”14 Keynes seems to balk at the term “economic nationalism.” Still, he thinks that something other than “economic internationalism” may be in the interests of a peaceable and durable world order. Whether or not he is right in this, Keynes exemplifies here the Utopian principle that political insulation can be a means—or, at least, can be advocated as a means—to humane geopolitical ends. This is worth remembering in the current political climate.

Insularity and Humanity

Insulation is essential to the radical vision of economic and political self-sufficiency in More’s Utopia. In the first pages of Utopia Book II, Raphael Hythloday reports to More and his friends that he has lived on the newly discovered island of Utopia, which is “crescent-shaped, like a new moon.”15 This formation is ideal, says Hythloday, because it restricts access to Utopia’s main harbor—which is placid as a lake—to a slender passage “between the horns of the crescent.”16 Hythloday stresses that this point of entry is not only narrow, but “very dangerous.”17 At its center stands a massive rock, upon which the Utopians have built a fortress. Below the water’s surface, across this stretch of water, are strewn huge rock formations—artificial shoals—which can only be avoided by sailing in a network of “channels known only to the Utopians.” The result, he says, is that “hardly any strangers enter the bay without one of their pilots.”18

The rest of the island’s coastline is pitted with harbors, but Hythloday points out that it is “rugged by nature, and so well fortified that a few defenders could beat off the attack of a strong force.”19 In effect, More’s island is a fortress. Lest we miss the significance of Utopia’s impenetrable coastline, Hythloday tells us that this island is not even a natural one. In one of More’s most fanciful paragraphs, we are told that Utopia’s namesake and founder, Utopus, conquered a peninsula which he then made into an island by cutting it off from the mainland. “After subduing the natives,” says Hythloday, Utopus “cut a channel fifteen miles wide where their land joined the continent.”20 It is hard not to see in this fifteen-mile moat a reflection of the English Channel, which is twenty miles wide at the Dover Strait.21

That this artificial channel is no minor detail is confirmed by the first line of a quatrain by Peter Giles (a member of More’s humanist circle in Antwerp) which appears in the first pages of Utopia’s earliest editions. “It was Utopus,” writes Giles, “who made me [Utopia] an island from a non-island” (Utopus me dux ex non insula fecit insulam).22 Having conquered a peninsula, Utopus makes an island, so strong is his conviction that an ideal polity must be insular. Is this More’s dream—or joke—of a 2016 British referendum, exactly five hundred years in advance?

In any case, the fortifications continue within More’s artificial island. Utopia’s cities are all “built on the same plan,”23 says Hythloday. Each is “surrounded by a thick, high wall.” This wall is then protected “on three sides . . . by a dry ditch,” while a river “serves as a moat” on the fourth side.24 Hythloday specifies that in Amaurot—the city that marks “the navel of the land,”25 and in which he lived for five years—“the inhabitants have walled around the source of [the] river” that passes through their city, “so that if they should be attacked, the enemy would not be able to cut off and divert the stream, or poison it.”26 In Utopia, even the rivers are walled in.

It is clear from Hythloday’s report on Utopian warfare that wall-building is a warlike practice. “They fortify their camps thoroughly,” he says later in Book II, “with a deep, broad ditch all around them” (just like their cities). Hythloday is struck by the fact that this labor is not performed by slaves, but “by the soldiers themselves with their own hands.” The citizens of Utopia are masters of the maligned art of wall-building, and Hythloday is amazed at the speed with which they “complete great fortifications, enclosing wide areas with unbelievable speed.”27 Why is this? Why is Utopia an artificial island, and a fortress?          

More’s island republic is not xenophobic. At the end of Utopia Book I, Hythloday reports that “some twelve hundred years ago, a ship which a storm had blown towards Utopia was wrecked on the island. Some Romans and Egyptians were cast ashore, and never departed.”28 (Incidentally, the motif of ancient shipwreck recurs in Bacon’s New Atlantis.) Note that these foreigners are treated well. They choose to remain in Utopia, just as Hythloday says that he “never would have left [the island], if it had not been to make that new world known” to Europeans.29

In Utopia Book II, Hythloday observes that non-Utopians “are very few” on the island (pauci ac raro sunt), but that “when they do come, they have certain furnished houses (domicilia) assigned to them.”30 (This institution will also figure prominently in the New Atlantis.) Travelers who come to see the island are “sure of a warm welcome,” he says, for the Utopians “love to hear what is happening throughout the world.”31 Hythloday calls this circulation of travelers’ reports—and the bulk of Utopia passes itself off as just such a report—a part of cognitio terrarum, the discovery of other lands.32 The Utopians are by no means hostile to cognitio terrarum. On the contrary, “this”—says Hythloday—is “why we were received so kindly” on the island.33

Much more could be said, but this demonstrates that Utopia is not a xenophobic republic. The Utopians regard “humanity” (humanitas)—this is More’s term—as “the virtue most proper to human beings,” and hold that “nothing is more humane . . . than to relieve the misery of others.”34 Yet, if humanitas is Utopia’s highest virtue, then why is it encircled by water and fortified on land? Isn’t a prohibitive border regime in conflict with the Utopians’ humanitarian ethic? More does not himself take up this question, but in the New Atlantis, written roughly a hundred years after Utopia, Francis Bacon does.

Bensalem’s Border Regime

There is a tempting symmetry in the conjecture that Bacon finished writing his New Atlantis in 1615, exactly a century after More wrote Utopia Book II (though it went to press a year later).35 Unhappily, this temptation—like most—should be resisted. The New Atlantis was more likely composed in the early 1620s.36

In any event, the dramatic date of Bacon’s political fiction is 1612,37 and the intervening century is signaled in its first sentence. “We sailed from Peru,” Bacon’s narrator begins, “for China and Japan by the South Sea.”38 When More wrote Utopia, the globe had not been circled by the Magellan expedition (1522); Peru had not been overrun by Pizarro (1532); and Japan had not yet been reached by Mendes Pinto (1542). As a Pacific (“South Sea”) route from Peru to China suggests, then, Bacon’s island republic is situated on a newly traversed—but not yet fully charted—globe.

Bacon’s narrator then tells us that he and his crew were swept off course into “the greatest wilderness of waters in the world.” Lacking all coordinates, adrift in a tohu-bohu that he compares to the abyss of Genesis 1:2,39 the narrator and his crew place their hope in “islands or continents, that hitherto were not come to light.” And they are not disappointed. For, eventually—on the verge of starvation, and many of them sick—they find themselves approaching “the port of a fair city.”

Unlike the harbor in Utopia, which is treacherous to enter, this harbor is good. The Europeans glide in. Nevertheless, having come to harbor, they are straightaway met by “divers of the people, with bastons”—truncheons, clubs—“in their hands, as it were forbidding us to land.”40 So begins the drama of Bensalem’s border regime (the name of this island is Bensalem),41 which unfolds in the first half of Bacon’s text.42 A conflict which Bacon senses, and wishes to address, is present from the outset. The narrator and his crew—all of whom are weak and malnourished—are forbidden to land; and yet, as the narrator immediately observes, this stern prohibition is issued “without any . . .  fierceness.”43 The border-regime of Bacon’s ideal republic is strict, and highly regulated, and yet it is perceived to be—in his narrator’s phrase—“full of humanity.”44

This term, the significance of which we just noted in Utopia, recurs throughout the disembarkation drama in New Atlantis. The border guards of Bensalem are noted for the “rare humanity,”45 and more emphatically, for the “singular humanity” with which they treat the pathetic Europeans.46 Later, when the narrator and his crew are still under strict surveillance, having completed a short period of house arrest, they marvel that they have been met with “such humanity, and such a . . . desire to take strangers as it were into their bosom.”47 If this is not a Wilkommenskultur, what is? Still, a sharp tension between humanitas and the robust enforcement of a centuries-old border regime is salient in Bacon’s text, as evidenced by how foreigners are “processed,” for lack of a better word, in Bacon’s island republic.

Forbidden to land, Bacon’s crew are met in the harbor by a small boat. Their craft is boarded by an officer who, “without any show of distrust at all,” hands them a document written in Hebrew, Greek, Latin—the three sacred languages (tres linguae sacrae) of Europe—and in Spanish. It says this: “Land ye not, none of you; and provide to be gone from this coast within sixteen days. . . .” Denial of landing is the first element of Bensalem’s border regime. The second element, however, shows “humanity.” Sixteen days’ anchorage is granted, and the strangers are offered fresh water and other provisions, medical care, etc. (“that which belongeth to mercy”).48

After three hours have elapsed, a second delegation—which does not board the ship—is sent out to Bacon’s crew. From a certain distance, this new delegation inquires “with a loud voice”: “Are ye Christians?” Bacon’s crew reply that they are. This third element—a religious test—leads to a fourth. Since they are Christians, the foreigners are made to “swear . . . by the merits of the Saviour” that they “are not pirates, nor have shed blood . . . within forty days past.” If they will so swear, they will be given “licence to come on land.”49 Having sworn, the Europeans are told that they will be taken ashore the next day, and put up in the Strangers’ House. Recall More’s furnished houses (domicilia) for non-Utopians.50

The next morning, Bacon’s crew is brought ashore. They are greeted in the city by crowds of islanders “standing in a row, but in so civil a fashion”—says Bacon’s narrator—“as if it had been not to wonder [at] but to welcome us.”51 Over a period of days, they are installed in the Strangers’ House, which the narrator describes as “a fair and spacious” structure.52 They are instructed not to leave this house for a period of three days. This house arrest is the fifth element in Bensalem’s border regime.

Having passed these days quietly, the Europeans are then visited by the governor of the Strangers’ House, who informs them that “the state hath given [them] licence to stay on land for the space of six weeks.” There is one new condition, however, which the governor lays down: “None of you must go above . . . a mile and a half from the walls of the city.”53 Having been confined to the Strangers’ House for a period of three days, they are now—for a period of six weeks—confined to the city and its vicinity. With the narrator and his crew installed in a specially designated house and free to move about the city, the dramatic frame of Bacon’s New Atlantis is in place. His narrator can then observe Bensalem’s rites, consult its scholars, and so on. But what is the logic of this border regime? It is marked by a concern with “mercy” and “humanity,” yet its objective is the “rare admission of strangers.”54 Bacon’s narrator is told that thirty-seven years have passed since a stranger appeared in Bensalem’s harbor.55 Even after thirty-seven years, however, the island’s border-regime is vigorously enforced.

Humanity and Policy

As with More’s island republic, Bacon’s is not xenophobic. His narrator is told that, in antiquity, Bensalem had been “known and frequented by the ships and vessels of [many] nations.” In a mythic past, the island had received delegations from the “Persians, Chaldeans, [and] Arabians.”56 Bensalem’s officials criticize imperial China for its “law of keeping out strangers” (much like Plato criticizes the Spartan practice of xenelasia, the expulsion of non-Spartan Hellenes, in the Laws).57 The islanders regard this as “a law of pusillanimity and fear,” and their border-regime is not motivated by prejudice or fear. It is a matter of policy. In fact, it is crucial to observe that Bacon introduces the term “policy” in precisely this connection. One of Bensalem’s officers concedes that, when dealing with foreigners, the imperatives of “humanity” and “policy” seem to conflict. Bensalem’s border regime is intended to lessen this conflict. It reflects a mythic legislator’s desire “to join humanity and policy together.”58

Bacon gives his island’s Ur-legislator the name Solamon,59 in which we are of course meant to hear an echo of Israel’s philosopher-king, Solomon.60 Among the fundamental laws of the island, Solamon set out the “interdicts and prohibitions . . . touching [the] entrance of strangers.” The reason for these prohibitions is that Solamon “doubt[ed] novelties, and commixture of manners.” He considered that the island “might be a thousand ways altered to the worse, but scarce any one to the better.” (It may have gone unnoticed in the literature on Bacon,61 but he is paraphrasing, here, a line of reasoning that appears at the end of Plato’s Laws.62) Accordingly, Solamon devised a border-regime that “preserv[es] the good which cometh by communicating with strangers, and avoid[s] the hurt.”63 We have already sketched the six elements of this border regime. Newcomers are stalled, interrogated, categorized, vetted, tracked, and granted only a temporary stay of residence. The regime’s objective, as we have seen, is to ensure the “rare admission of strangers” to the island.64

A border regime is also meant to track and control egress from the territory, however. And one of Solamon’s fundamental laws prohibits citizens from “navigat[ing] into any part” of the globe that is not “under his crown.”65 Yet a ritualized break in this prohibition is also legislated. Solamon ordains that “every twelve years there should be set forth . . . two ships.” Their “errand” is sharply defined: “to give . . . knowledge of the affairs and state of those countries to which they were designed.”66 Bensalem tasks its envoys to procure knowledge of “all parts of the world.”67 In one passage of New Atlantis, this type of commerce is styled “inter-knowledge.”68 Recall that Solamon wanted to “preserv[e] the good which cometh by communicating with strangers, and [to avoid] the hurt.”69 One of the main benefits of free movement is, apparently, “inter-knowledge.”70 The “hurt,” however, is a “commixture of manners” in an optimal polity.71 By limiting ingress to his island republic, Solamon—which is to say, Bacon—has limited the “thousand ways” in which his polity could be “altered to the worse.”72 By organizing egress, he has made provision for the acquisition of “inter-knowledge.”73

Institutions and Affections

Bacon’s border-regime is far more elaborate than More’s, but we can return now to Utopia, in light of New Atlantis, and draw a few succinct conclusions. Why is Utopia an artificial island, and a fortress? The answer is simply that More’s ideal polity must be stable and secure. Unlike Bensalem, whose isolation is so profound that Bacon gives no thought to invasion, war is an ineliminable threat in Utopia. Wars will occur. For More—as for Plato—there is never any question of perpetual peace. “In that new world,” says Hythloday, “no trust is put in treaties.”74 In the absence of treaties—and indeed, as Hythloday’s cutting asides on European politics make clear,75 even in the presence of treaties—there will be wars. The purpose of walls and other fortifications—and of Utopia’s artificial insulation—is to ensure that future wars will be fought “outside their own borders (fines),” in Hythloday’s phrase. “For they don’t like to wage war,” he clarifies, “on their own soil (terris).”76

More’s concern with stability is of special interest. More believes that different “institutions” (institutiones) inculcate different “affections” (affectiones),77 and his ideal polity is predicated upon affections. More’s border-regime is meant to ensure the internal and institutional stability of his island polity by providing for the stability of the Utopians’ affections. Borders do not only demarcate forms of governance, but forms of affectivity. This is reflected in Hythloday’s report on Utopian marriage customs. Especially striking is one comment. “There is extra reason for them [the Utopians] to be careful,” he says here, “because in that part of the world they are the only ones who are content to practise monogamy (singulis sunt contenti coniugibus).”78 The practice of monogamy is not merely, for More, a question of law. It is a question of contentment which is inculcated by the law, and which undergirds the law.

The form of affectivity that makes More’s island republic a utopia is—in his own conception—no more durable than its borders. In this respect, More is absolutely faithful to Plato, and Bacon is faithful to More. This becomes, finally, the basic intuition of all utopian fiction: the perfect modern state—like the optimal city of antiquity—is sheltered by strong borders. Today, when those most responsible for the fate of migrants (in this case, the United Nations) feel compelled to warn that uncontrolled border crossings are being used by hostile entities to destabilize states,79 this aspect of utopian writing may prove to be—unhappily—the most timely.

The logic of utopian borders is not one of fear or hostility, however. The utopian genre is written by newcomers (More’s Hythloday, Bacon’s narrator), and for newcomers (in the sixteenth century, Europeans). The obligations of humanity (humanitas) are salient in both More’s and Bacon’s texts. It is suggestive that More, then a London officeholder, wrote Utopia in Antwerp: he sketched his ideal island’s border regime outside of England’s borders. This confirms Carlo Ginzburg’s saying, perhaps, that “no island is an island.”80

But a borderless utopia is, paradoxically, a contradiction in terms. In order to be “no place” (Ou-topos), More and Bacon insist that you must first make a place (even if it means digging a faux English Channel, like Utopus). Global history is dystopian, they conclude; less of it is more. Borders can shelter us, for a while, from the chaos of history. And in this sense—is it minimal? or is it maximal?—borders can be utopian.

This article is an American Affairs online exclusive, published November 20, 2018.

1 Wolfgang Münchau, “The Liberal Elite’s Marie Antoinette Moment,” Financial Times, November 27, 2016.

2 J. Zielonka, “Europa ist nicht länger sicher. Alles kaputt: Nato, EU und auch der liberale Konsens,” Die Zeit, December 16, 2016.

3 Thomas More, Utopia, ed. G. M. Logan and R. M. Adams (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989), 109.

4 Recall here that as late as September 1516, the work’s title seems to have been Nusquama, “Nowhere.”

5 J.-Y. Lacroix, L’Utopia de Thomas More et la Tradition Platonicienne (Paris: J. Vrin, 2007) 11.

6 J. Hilton, Lost Horizon. A Novel (New York: Harper Perennial, 2004), 205.

7 Hilton, 73.

8 See the title page of the 1518 edition reproduced in Prévost, 309.

9 More, 109; Prévost, 628–29.

10 More, 109; Prévost, 626–27.

11 More, Utopia, p. 61–63; Prévost, L’Utopie de Thomas More, p. 494–503.

12 J. G. Fichte, The Closed Commercial State, tr. with comm. A. C. Adler (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2012).

13 Lacroix, 117.

14 I. Nakhimovsky, The Closed Commercial State: Perpetual Peace and the Commercial Society from Rousseau to Fichte (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2011), 172.

15 More, 42; Prévost, 448–49.

16 More, 42; Prévost, 448–49.

17 More, 42; Prévost, 448–49.

18 More, 42; Prévost, 450–51.

19 More, 43; Prévost, 450–51.

20 More, 43; Prévost, 450–51.

21 See J. H. Hexter, “The Composition of Utopia,” The Complete Works of St. Thomas More, Volume 4, ed. E. Surtz, S.J. and J. H. Hexter (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1965), 386.

22 More, 123 (translation modified); Prévost, 334–35.

23 More, 44; Prévost, 452–53.

24 More, 46; Prévost, 460–61.

25 More, 44; Prévost, 452–53.

26 More, 46; Prévost, 458–61.

27 More, 94; Prévost, 584–87.

28 More, 40–41; Prévost, 444–45.

29 More, 40; Prévost, 442–43.

30 More, 58; Prévost, 486–87.

31 More, 79; Prévost, 544–45.

32 Prévost, 544–45.

33 More, 79; Prévost, 544–45.

34 More, 70; Prévost, 516–17.

35 Hexter, xv–xxiii. Or, as it was originally called, Nusquama (“Nowhere”). See More’s letter to Erasmus dated September 3, 1516, quoted and discussed in Hexter, xv–xvi.

36 B. Vickers, Francis Bacon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 786–87. As Vickers notes (p. 785), the New Atlantis first appeared in 1627, at the back of a posthumous volume overseen by Bacon’s chaplain, William Rawley. The bulk of this volume is made up by Bacon’s Sylva Sylvarum: or A Natural Historie.

37 Francis Bacon, New Atlantis, in B. Vickers, Francis Bacon (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996), 467, 792.

38 Bacon, 457.

39 Thus anticipating “Salomon’s House,” which is “sometimes called . . . the College of Six Days Works.” Bacon, 471.

40 Bacon, 457.

41 Bacon, 463.

42 Note, in passing, that, like the old “Atlantis” described in Plato’s Critias, Bacon’s New Atlantis is an unfinished text. See the title page: New Atlantis: A Work Unfinished, reproduced in J. Spedding, R. L. Ellis, and D. D. Heath, The Works of Francis Bacon, (London: Longman and Co., 1859 (facsimile edition: Stuttgart 1963)), vol. III, 125.

43 Bacon, 457.

44 Bacon, 458.

45 Bacon, 466.

46 Bacon, 459.

47 Bacon, 472.

48 Bacon, 457–58.

49 Bacon, 459.

50 More, 58; Prévost, 486–87.

51 Bacon, 460.

52 Bacon, 460.

53 Bacon, 462.

54 Bacon, 463.

55 Bacon, 462.

56 Bacon, 467.

57 Plato, Laws XII 950b. See Plato, Laws, 2 vols., Greek with trans. R. G. Bury (London: William Heinemann, 1968), vol. 2, 503.

58 Bacon, 470.

59 The name is written “Salomona,” but pronounced “Salomon.” See Bacon, 471.

60 Bacon, 469. Says one of Bensalem’s officials (p. 471), “I take it to be denominate of the King of the Hebrews.”

61 Judging mainly by the annotations on this passage in Vickers, 704.

62 Plato, XII 949e–950a. See Plato, Laws, trans. R. G. Bury, vol. 2, p. 500–503.

63 Bacon, 470–71.

64 Bacon, 463.

65 Bacon, 470–71.

66 Bacon, 471.

67 Bacon, 472.

68 Bacon, 466. The term also appears in the writings of Joseph Hall (d. 1656), Bishop of Exeter and Norwich, and perhaps in other seventeenth-century writers.

69 Bacon, 470–71.

70 Bacon, 466.

71 Bacon, 470–71.

72 Bacon, 470–71.

73 Bacon, 466.

74 More, 86 (translation modified); Prévost, 564–565.

75 More, 86; Prévost, 562–563.

76 More, 95; Prévost, 588–89.

77 More, 63; Prévost, 504–05.

78 More, 82 (translation modified); Prévost, 552–53.

79 Daniel Boffey, “ISIS Trying to Foment a Wave of Migration to Europe, Says UN Official,” Guardian, April 26, 2018.

80 Carlo Ginzburg, No Island Is an Island: Four Glances at English Literature in a World Perspective (New York: Columbia University Press, 2000).

Sorry, PDF downloads are available to subscribers only.
Subscribe Now
Already a subscriber? Log In