ABSTRACT

This article reaffirms the utopian standpoint in transformative political culture and practice. Herein, it does not deploy utopia as a noun—an object—but, rather, an adjective, a modifier: as the utopian that identifies a triad—transgressive as it breaks with the status quo, totalizing as it analyzes the system that produces that status quo, and transformative as it moves social reality toward a horizon comprehensively better for all human beings and nature itself. This article develops this argument through a close reading of Book One of More's Utopia. In doing so, it works against the grain of More's ideological encapsulation of utopia within the remit of the state and its official policies by identifying the utopian surplus that exceeds the author's own (ex)position. Thus, Hythloday, itinerant and critical intellectual, emerges as the radical utopian subject, rather than the fictive character of More as a royal adviser.

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