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Between Utopia and Dystopia: Erasmus, Thomas More, and the Humanist Republic of Letters Hardcover – April 19, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Elegantly written, passionate, and informed by a wide learning in Renaissance studies, HananYoran's book explores the origins of the modern figure of the 'intellectual' in the philosophical theories and life-stories of Erasmus of Rotterdam and Thomas More. He shows how these two Christian humanists turned the critical methodologies of their predecessors, the Italian humanists, into a new and much more radical ideology of modern humanity, based on some classical and early Christian conceptions of civic morality. Inasmuch as they dared to challenge the ecclesiastical and political authorities of their time and to create an independent Republic of Letters, they set a compelling example of intellectual nonconformity that is still relevant today.

(Joseph Mali, Tel Aviv University)

This study should prompt readers to think carefully about the early sixteenth-century humanist movement from a fresh perspective. (Renaissance Quarterly)

Recommended. (CHOICE)

Readers who resist Yoran’s characterization of the autonomous universal intellectual for being tendentious will miss some of the more provocative insights this approach yields....Yoran’s bold and insightful investigation solves old problems and raises new questions, and specialists in Northern humanism generally, as well as interpreters of the two focal figures [Erasmus and More], will be instructed and stimulated by this comparative study. (Erasmus Of Rotterdam Society)

Indeed, the whole book is redolent of deep immersion in its subject, and of a passionate desire to make Milton's masque speak to contemporary society. (Milton Quarterly)

Between Utopia and Dystopia will be of considerable interest to those concerned with the history of ideas for its exploration of oppositions in humanist texts. (Sixteenth Century Journal)

About the Author

Hanan Yoran is lecturer in the department of history at Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
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