Five hundred years after its first publication, Thomas More’s Utopia continues to raise intellectual controversy both as a book and as a concept. Originally written as a traveller’s report about a far-away island, the book gave a new name to a classic genre of political fiction and challenged future moral and political thinking with its notion of an ideal society. Alluding to the newly discovered lands that lured explorers and captivated the imagination of readers around Europe in 1516, More placed his ‘Nowhereland’ on the other side of the ocean. Acquiring wide fame and notoriety not as a fantasy place, but as a real example to be followed, the island of Utopia was to become a model for future political constellations, investing the concepts of ‘utopia’ and ‘utopianism’ with the temporal dimension of the belief in a dreamworld to come.
This issue of ANTW will explore both the original book and its historical aftermath. Utopia is one of the rare works of Renaissance literature still widely read today, yet it is also a book that even specialists have difficulty to interpret.