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Analysis: Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

When More wrote his first draft of Utopia, he sent a copy to his pal (and big-deal Renaissance thinker) Erasmus, who made a bunch of little, marginal notes for himself. When he returned the text to More, those glosses stayed put and are published today in almost any version of the text you buy. Moral of the story: put some effort into your doodles. (Source.)

More's Utopia was so influential that it actually inspired a Spanish bishop to try to establish a Utopian community in Michoacán, Mexico in the 1530s. He even kept some of More's wacky titles, like syphogrant. (Source.)

In 1535, Thomas More was beheaded by his old friend King Henry VIII for refusing to recognize Henry as the head of the Church. His last words were supposedly that he died "the king's good servant, but God's first." He was later made a saint by the Catholic Church and hailed as a martyr. How's that for important? (Source.)

More had so much fun constructing this imaginary Utopian country that he included even lots of pretend documentation when the book was published. These include various letters between friends attesting to Hythloday's existence and even a table with the Utopian alphabet. Very clever, More. (Source.)

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