Publication Date

April 2019

Advisor(s)

Matthew Garrett

Major

College of Social Studies

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

In this thesis, I read Thomas More’s 1516 Latin text, Utopia, as a work of transitional political economy. Situating this text (which is, incidentally, the first use of the term “Utopia”) within the rise of a specifically economic form of labor, I show how More’s presentation of labor contains a crucial duality—and thus tension—between its emergent economic form and its literary expression as toil. This is a duality that contains an emancipatory interrelationship between economic means and poetic ends that finds expression in a tendency to reduce toil in the aggregate on this imaginary island.

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