58 pages 1 hour read

Thomas More


Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 1516

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Before Reading

Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. Utopia was originally published in England in 1516, when the country was ruled by the Tudors. What do you know about Tudor England in the 16th century? Consider the politics, ideology, literature, and/or art of the period.

Teaching Suggestion: The Tudors rose to power in England in 1485, and a Tudor monarch would sit on the country’s throne until the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603. Thomas More was the Chancellor of King Henry VIII (reigned 1509-1547), who convicted More of treason and had him executed when he refused to endorse the new Anglican Church on religious grounds. Depending on the class’s level of familiarity with this time in history, it may be helpful to assign group-research tasks, such as creating a list of Tudor monarchs and relevant events during their reigns.

  • This timeline highlights the key events of the life and reign of King Henry VIII.
  • This book by the author and scholar C. S. Lewis discusses English literature in the 16th century; the introduction in particular is helpful in situating literature from this period in its historical, political, sociocultural, and ideological contexts.