Challenging Humanism: Essays in Honor of Dominic Baker-Smith

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Biography Carosio was born in Genoa, the daughter of a singing teacher and composer, Natale Carosio, who not only supervised her She once said of her father: "Everything This feat created a sensation and made operatic history. It also aw Bibliography The Last Pr Torres Vedras is a municipality in the Portuguese district of Lisbon, approximately 50km north of the capital Lisbon in subregion Oest Lisbon, approximately 50km north of the capital Lisbon in subregion Oeste of the Centro region. History In , Afonso Henriques took from the Moor History In , Afonso Henriques took from the Moors the town of Torres Vedras, in the then region of Estremadura, an area encircled by g Situated in the former district of Lisbon, Torres Vedras is a strong agricultural region linked with its vineyards and intense commerci King Afonso III conced Peter, convened the Cortes in , to deliberate over the wedding of his daughter Isabel with his nephew Afonso; and the place where King John II re At the same time, intrigues and confrontations were ferme Early life Berenson was born in New York City, the elder of two daughters.

Her father, Robert Lawrence Berenson, was an American car Her father, Robert Lawrence Berenson, was an American career dip Berenson, Ex-Envoy and Head Elsa Schiapare Her younger sister, Berinthia, became a m They have one daughter , Starlite Melody Randall born Her second husband was Aaro Said Berenson: "I have hope and tremendous faith. I think that's He was born He was born on 22 May at Port Roy Besides these works he made reports on the documents preserved at Venice relating to the English history, and on the arte collection of p Hardy was knighted in It was founded in as a memorial to Sir Roger Newdigate The winning poem is r Instructions are published as follows: "The length of the poem is not to exceed lines.

The metre is not restricted to The metre is not restricted to heroic couplet s, but dramatic form of composition is not allowed.

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Sidney A. Robert William Sterling not awarded : Venice. Russell Green suspended due to war suspended due to Gertrude Trevelyan : The Mermaid Tavern.

In Charles created the order of Argonauts of Saint Nicholas. In he succeeded to the Principa When the war between Hungary and Venice was declared, Charles acted as ambassador in , negotiating i It wasn't difficult for h Charles Eliot Norton November 16, — October 21, was a leading American author, social critic, and professor of art. He wa He was a progressive social reformer and a liberal activist who He was a progressive social reformer and a liberal activist whom many of his contemporaries considered the most He was a progressive social reformer and a liberal activist whom many of his contemporaries considered the most cultivated man in the United Hence his anxiety about the bridge at Amaurot and its precise length p.

Then Giless letter plays further with the theme of fiction, with seeing the unreal: you can tell from Raphaels words that he has seen what he is talking about in comparison to him the fted Amerigo Vespucci14 seems to have seen nothing.

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And yet, Giles cannot avoid the sense that there is more to be seen in Mores report than Raphael saw in his five years in Utopia. Inevitably, as we are about to learn the location of an island that is nowhere, a coughing fit drowns out the information. The third letter, again from More to Giles, allows Morus to meet the charge that the book may be made up and to defend its authenticity, even if historical objectivity had not compelled me, Im not so dense that I would have chosen such outlandish names as Utopia, Anyder, Amaurot or Ademus, which signify nothing p.

And that, thanks to their negative prefixes, is just what they do signify see Glossary of Names, p. Apart from providing some Lucianic entertainment to Mores humanist circle, these prefatory letters function as pointers to the reader. They prepare us for the text that is to follow and alert us to its element of play, but as so often with play, they nudge us in the direction of more serious issues. In particular they thrust at us the problematic relationship between imagined worlds and mundane reality, using the metaphor of a traveller s tale to represent the traffic between the two.

This is the aspect of Utopia brought out in the alphabet and those prefatory verses which Giles appears to have added to Mores manuscript: that Platos commonwealth is merely philosophical while Utopia is presented to us as a living environment, a place that we can vicariously inhabit. One purpose of fiction is, after all, to generate encounters with the ideal.

It is striking, then, that at the opening of the book we are thrust into a very specific context with all the features of actual history. We hear of an embassy that did occur, we read the names of real persons who took part in the negotiations, and when Morus and Giles meet it is after Mass at the cathedral at Antwerp.

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But when the carelessly dressed Raphael is introduced a new dimension opens up: for one thing his rather scruffy appearance matches Lucians Cynic in one of the dialogues More had translated: my long hair and my dress are so effective that they enable me to live a quiet life doing what I want to do and keeping the company of my choice.

It seems likely that More wrote the opening pages, those which deal with Raphaels travels, as a prelude to the actual account of Utopia, but just as we encounter the first mention of the Utopians he appears to change course and insert the dialogue about political engagement which frames Raphaels monologue on the islanders and their way of life.

The shift is made with some ingenuity: Raphaels intriguing account of his travels prompts Peter Giles to suggest that he enter the service of some king, thus setting off the debate about participation in public life which is one of the major strands in the book. Raphael treasures his independence; he lives as he pleases, while Morus enters the conversation in order to argue the case for royal service. This proves to be a critical confrontation.


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Although the book is set in Antwerp, and for the most part in the garden of Mores lodgings, we are scarcely aware of this since for much of the time we are whisked off on imaginary journeys. Almost the whole of Book Two is given over to Raphaels evocation of the Utopian world; but in Book One there is a sequence of episodes, starting with Raphaels recall of Cardinal Mortons household and proceeding to the fly-on-the-wall views of two royal councils at work, each episode containing an appeal to some exemplary alternative the Polylerites, the Achorians and the Macarians.

The glue that binds these episodes together is a running argument over political participation. The two court scenes, for all their precise focus on contemporary events, are relatively straightforward, but the Morton episode is more complex. It is introduced by Raphael to support his case that the court environment is resistant to change, and he dates his English visit by reference to the Cornish uprising of This may seem an odd event to pick, but it leads logically to the themes of economic hardship and social injustice which will colour the whole passage.

Indeed, there are stylistic parallels between this section and Raphaels peroration at the close of Book Two in which he condemns the existing order as a conspiracy of the rich. The two sections may have been written at much the same time, in the last stages of composition, and they both convey deep anger. Years later, as Chancellor, More would have occasion to clash with his fellow common lawyers over too literal a reading of the law, and now in the setting of Mortons house it is the common lawyer who sets off the dispute over hanging.

Simply, Raphael considers hanging for theft too extreme.

Challenging Humanism: Essays in Honor of Dominic Baker-Smith.

As he protests, nothing thats subject to fortune can be weighed against the value of a human life p. An equitable system of reformatory justice, like that practised by the Polylerites, offers a better alternative. There is a deeper point as well, that theft is not just a private act but reveals a social problem: the thief steals out of necessity since he must feed his starving family but has been deprived of any legitimate means of earning a livelihood because the rich have other plans for the countryside.

So the guilt for the theft is dispersed throughout society; even abbots are driven by the profit motive. It would be difficult not to be impressed by Raphaels metaphor of man-eating sheep p. In any case, from his seat in the Sheriffs court, More must have seen at first hand the social tragedies of a displaced population.

The real point, however, is not how accurately he mirrors the social conditions of the day, but rather how fully he grasps the way in which crime can be socially predetermined. There may be a hint of early rural nostalgia in Raphaels call to restore agriculture, but Mores real insight is the recognition of what some would describe as social sin, the awkward fact that to belong to society to be formed by its customs and to be subject to its dictates is to be morally compromised.

As a simple illustration we have the hangers-on at Mortons table, from the common lawyer himself to the crowd who flatter the cardinal at every opportunity. In them moral vision is confined to personal advantage or the upholding of custom. By contrast Morton, who is open to innovation and willing to consider Raphaels proposal, emerges as a positive figure who anticipates the adaptability of the Utopians themselves. Within the closed circuit of social custom his readiness to assess the penal arrangements of the Polylerites offers a glimpse of hope; one can even see it as an example of counsel achieving its goal.

But does Raphael notice? As the conversation in the garden unfolds, a key issue is the relationship between wisdom, or philosophy, and power. If wisdom is to reform society it needs the backing of power. Platos ideal solution, invoked by Morus, is the concept of a philosopher-king, one in whom power and philosophy coincide. No polity can achieve perfection until, under divine providence, either philosophers take power or the powerful develop a passion for philosophy.

The problem, of course, is custom, that accretion of received attitudes and practices which distorts the way we see things, as in the case of gold. Raphaels retort is that those in power have been corrupted by false values since infancy, and to confirm his claim he delivers the two accounts of royal councils in session. These have been devised with some care: the imaginary scene of the French royal council is based on the dominant features of French diplomacy between the battle of Marignano in September and the death of Ferdinand of Aragon in the following January.

Its a vivid exposition of pragmatism and territorial ambition. The second council is tactfully unspecified, but it closely matches the fiscal policies pursued by Henry VII and his notorious councillors Empsom and Dudley.

Author: Francis Bacon

But Morus point is about context: short of a perfect world, you must adapt to circumstance and avoid head-on confrontation; otherwise you will risk derision or worse. Instead he advocates an indirect approach, a tactful attempt to modify the evil effects of custom, so that whatever you cannot turn to good will at least do the minimum of harm p. It amounts to a containing exercise, a policy for the interim until all men become good; and that, as he wryly puts it, is unlikely for some time.

Again these contrasted philosophies amount to different modes of language: on the one hand there is Raphaels direct and unaccommodating speech, which makes no condescension to particular circumstance and which Morus characterizes as academic p. It is this urbane philosophy that connects with the humanist tradition and its sense of language as a means to action. In the absence of a philosopher-king the best we can do, according to Morus, is try to persuade the powerful to act philosophically. But this implies engaging with a less than perfect society, soiling ones hands in effect, and that Raphael refuses to consider: he is committed to a world of absolute justice, and he has no wish to compromise.

Like Socrates in Platos Republic he is a citizen of the ideal. Behind Mores fictional dialogue lies an ancient debate that had a personal resonance for him, that of contemplation versus action.

One of its most widely known formulations is found in Ciceros De officiis Of Duties where he considers those, like Raphael, who place the pursuit of truth before civic obligation: For they secure one sort of justice, to be sure, in that they do no positive wrong to anyone, but they fall into the opposite injustice; for hampered by their pursuit of learning they leave to their fate those whom they ought to defend. In his view there can be little hope for society when philosophers refuse to counsel those in power.

But to Raphael such engagement is futile since society, that conspiracy of the rich, is impervious to high- minded interventions, a point he illustrates by the example of Christs teaching, which has been watered down by preachers to fit ordinary behaviour. In just the same way, he argues, the arrangements that Plato imagines in his republic or that the Utopians practise in theirs seem absurd to us because we hold to private ownership, while there all is held in common.

Challenging Humanism: Essays in Honor of Dominic Baker-Smith

So this key issue is brought out into the open: Raphael is convinced that the one and only way to social well-being is equality of possessions p. So forceful is Raphaels claim that Book One ends with Morus invitation to describe this remarkable island and its way of life. Before we move on to consider the Utopians and quite what they represent, its important to notice how the rude inhabitants of Abraxa with their mud huts have been transformed into cultivated city- dwelling Utopians. The whole pattern of their society can be traced back to Utopus, the conqueror who seized the island and shaped it to his own conception.

In him we can see a philosopher-king who embodies the coincidence of power and philosophy. Not only is he responsible for the layout of the towns and for freedom of religious observance, but he caused the excavation of the broad channel which separates what is now an island from the neighbouring continent. Like so many fictional societies Utopia is almost inaccessible to the outside world, and in consequence its institutions and the attitudes they promote can operate without contamination.

But, apart from this channel, what else divides Utopia from other societies? The most obvious answer is its communism, or to put it better its community of goods: this is its defining feature.

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So what did More have in mind? For anyone who reached maturity at the opening of the sixteenth century two things might prompt reflection on contemporary society. Both helped to stir an interest in primitivism, in the origins of human traditions an interest that More and Erasmus shared in common. When he discusses the proverb that opens the edition of the Adages, Between friends all is common,20 Erasmus attributes it to the semi-mythical figure Pythagoras, who reputedly founded a community in which all things were shared.

But his most striking reference to Pythagoras comes in another of the adages, his attack on militarism, War is sweet to the uninitiated. Erasmus is not advocating a vegetable diet, but he is making a symbolic point about the cycle of degeneration from a state of natural simplicity when the first primitive men lived in the forests, naked, without fortifications or homes, down to the battlefields of Renaissance Europe. Thanks to Utopus they have evolved from the primitive state of nature without elaborating a culture based on property rights that would be the legacy of Rome to Europe.


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  7. Book One is dominated by property issues, whether land rights as in the Morton episode or dynastic claims as in the French council, and these culminate at the very close of Utopia in the conspiracy of the rich that so enrages Raphael: Once the rich, in the name of the community and that, of course, includes the poor , have decreed that these fraudulent practices are to observed, they become laws p. The shift from a state of nature to private ownership is summarized by Cicero in his De officiis: There is no such thing as private ownership established by nature, but property becomes private either through long occupancy or through conquest or by due process of law, bargain, or purchase, or by allotment.

    Put that way, it doesnt sound a very tidy process.