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lorenzoberardi

The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

Utopia - Thomas More, Paul Turner It reminded me those days in which I fought to reach the end of "The Prince" by Machiavelli.
But I was 14 years old at that time and felt somehow justified in not being able to stand the 16th century language and prose.

"Utopia" is, in fact, coeval with "The Prince" and turned out to be a really obscure book, almost a meditation around the empiric concept of an "ideal", perfect state.
The book was written in a form that strongly recalls some classic Greek and Latin authors ("Apologies of Socrates" by Plato?).
To cut it short: "Utopia" is rather uneasy.

I was expecting the written equivalent of Piranesi's stencils but found neither visual imagery or brilliant imagination.
It doesn't surprise me that this book was later considered one of the theoretical milestones of socialism as it expresses a few interesting (and disputable) ideas. Unfortunately More was a colorless freethinker.
And I am sorry to say that "Utopia" perfectly rhymes with the brown&grey side of communism: not equality but sameness.

Those who are waiting for revelations, prophecies or even some entertaining tale may be disappointed. "Utopia" is far more cerebral and does not reward the quite inattentive reader (as I am now).

If you join my same club and tend to escape from essays and treatises of any sort, you better come back to "Gulliver's Travels". But if you are more patient, reflective and familiar with written English from the 16th century than me, I have no doubt that "Utopia" could be a gem in its own way. Just don't introduce the topic while talking with a nostalgic Marxist-Leninist: whole hours could be blown away!