Abstract

Abstract:

In this essay, Thomas More’s enduringly enigmatic Utopia (1516) is read alongside D.A.F. de Sade’s “Frenchmen, Some More Effort if You Wish to Become Republicans” (1795), based on four distinct convergences between the two texts. In retracing and unpacking these synergies, it is demonstrated that reading More with Sade may generate a fresh perspective on what, in utopian studies, is designated as the “education of desire,” as it impacts upon the vexed relationship between happiness and hedonism. It is argued, through a combined reading of More and Sade, that the texts celebrate satire as the most advanced technique for destabilizing doctrinal knowledge but also, and more importantly, that they may function as lasting reminders of the fictional status of autonomous selfhood and the intrinsic impossibility of full satisfaction—happiness being no more than an unpredictable momentary occurrence that is predicated upon the ineluctable dissatisfaction of desire and the empty promises of a limitless hedonism. The hope of these texts, which should also be the hope of all educational discourses in the twenty-first century, is that they do not contribute in any way to the promotion of a new disciplinary practice, through which desire would be modeled, shaped, and tamed, but rather to an emancipatory form of instruction, in which the “education of desire” is geared toward the creation of an endless “desire for education,” supported by the faculty of critical analysis, whose distinguished flag features a really good nose, insofar as the latter epitomized the quintessential seat of satire during the Renaissance period.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 278-307
Launched on MUSE
2018-04-13
Open Access
N
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