More’s Utopia is a complex, innovative and penetrating contribution to political thought, culminating in the famous ’description’ of the Utopians, who live according to the principles of natural law, but are receptive to
Christian teachings, who hold all possessions in common, and view gold as worthless. Drawing on the ideas of Plato, St Augustine and Aristotle, Utopia was to prove seminal in its turn, giving rise to the genres of utopian and dystopian prose fiction whose practitioners include Sir Francis Bacon, H.G. Wells, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell. At once a critique of the social consequences of greed and a meditation on the personal cost of entering public service, Utopia dramatises the difficulty of balancing the competing claims of idealism and pragmatism, and continues to invite its readers to become participants in a compelling debate concerning the best state of a commonwealth.