October 23


  • Project 1 due before midnight tonight–for real this time!
  • This week: Commonplace Book Checkpoint
    • I’ve been leaving some inspiration on the instructions page, but remember not all of your posts should be formal annotations or paragraphs. Be flexible, be creative, have fun! Use your book also to resist, critique, consider alternatives to the Eurocentrism of our texts
  • Next week: Graduate School Information Session
    • 4-6pm, AARC
    • Bring questions, come to chat and learn!
    • This means: no office hours next week!
  • Let’s talk back-up…

Important Connections Reflection

  • Looking through our schedule and the timeline in the textbook, write a short, 1-2 page reflection considering what you have learned about the medieval period and its representative texts. Here are some questions to consider:
    • What have you learned about medieval society, its class distinctions, morals and values? Can you think of texts that represent these?
    • Can you identify any shifts or unexpectedly subversive ideas in the texts we’ve read so far?
    • Which text was the most meaningful to you, and why?
    • Looking through the timeline, which historical event seemed to have the most impact on the literature of the time? Why?

Medieval Age redux

Group Presentation


  • King Henry VIII and the Protestant Reformation
  • Sir Thomas More (…and the Reformation)
  • The New World: Travel Narratives in Context
  • Plato’s New Republic


  • More’s opening letter to Giles: what purposes does it serve?
  • What kind of scholar does More present himself to be? Why did he take so long to write this book?
  • How does this letter preemptively answer some of the problems one might find in this narrative?
  • What is More’s opinion on readers? What are his expectations about how this work will be received once published?

In groups of three, we will take some time to read through examples of other travel narratives and consider the contribution More’s Utopia is making. What is Utopia about? How do we know? Write a short paragraph and, as a group, compose a thesis that might go about analyzing this work. Once you’re ready, have one member of the group go up to the board and write your thesis. We’ll take 20 minutes for this exercise

Discussion Part II

  • Book I is kind of like a long preface. Why set up this dialogue before the actual visit to Utopia?
  • Is More, the character, the same More as the author? Is he the same More as the letter writer?
  • What is Rafael’s opinion of counselors and other nobles? Why?
  • What other critiques of government did you find in this book?
  • According to Rafael, what qualities make up an ideal kingdom? What’s the role of the king in such a place?
  • Is this Book subversive? Could it have gotten More into trouble? In what ways does it avoid this?
  • In Book 2, we finally arrive in Utopia. What is it like? What elements about this society surprised you?
  • Is Utopia a monarchy?
  • What kinds of jobs are available for men? What about the women?
  • Is there room for entertainment and leisure? What kinds?
  • Why is there a need for slaves in a society where mostly everyone works in manual labor?
  • In what ways is this Utopia like England? How is it unlike it?
  • What do we make of the ending?
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