Cover

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Title Page, Copyright Page

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Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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p. ix

Many friends and colleagues have helped me during the course of writing this book. Greg Walker and Eleanor Rycroft have been a joy to work with on all our various and varied productions. Thomas S. Freeman read a draft of this volume and provided me with useful comments. Peter Marshall also gave me invaluable...

Notes on Citations

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p. xi

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Introduction

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pp. 1-37

On September 1, 1523, Thomas More wrote to Cardinal Wolsey from Woking, updating him on the correspondence that Henry VIII had recently received. It may like your good Grace [Wolsey] to be advertised that I have received your Grace’s letters directed to myself dated the last day of August with the letters of my Lord Admiral...

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Chapter 1: Politics

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pp. 39-74

Thomas More first met Desiderius Erasmus, who was in the company of Lord Mountjoy, in the summer of 1499. Mountjoy was a pupil of Erasmus, and it was probably due to this relationship that the meeting with More took place. It was to result in a friendship that would last for the rest of More’s life. Mountjoy...

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Chapter 2: Reason

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pp. 75-110

In May 1515 Thomas More went to Flanders as part of a royal trade commission. The negotiations were protracted, and More did not return to England until the end of October. It was during his time in Flanders that More probably wrote book 2 of Utopia, adding book 1 after he returned...

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Chapter 3: Heresy

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pp. 111-153

Thomas More’s career during the 1520s increasingly involved him in the English church’s struggle against Luther’s teachings and, more generally, the campaign against heresy. In 1521 he helped to edit Henry VIII’s Defence of the Seven Sacraments, and in 1523 he produced his Responsio Ad Lutherum, a detailed assault...

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Chapter 4: Devotion

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pp. 155-194

Reading Thomas More’s final devotional works, The Treatise on the Passion, A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation, and De Tristitia Christi, one senses that More does not feel able to directly face the passion. Instead he walks backwards toward it. This sense of deferral is not simply a product of More’s life story. He could have chosen...

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Conclusion

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pp. 195-208

In the spring of 1534 More was sent to the Tower of London for refusing to take the oath of succession. Although it is tempting to see this as More’s first step on the path that led to the execution block and martyrdom, this is misleading. It was entirely reasonable for More to hope that Henry VIII might have another...

Notes

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pp. 209-245

Index

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pp. 247-256