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Choisya
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Re: UTOPIA: March 2007 Discussion

I have just written 'Utopia starts' on my calendar! I wish:smileysurprised::smileysurprised::smileysurprised:




Laurel wrote:
That looks like a good schedule, Pmath. Thanks for working it up!


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E_Darcy
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!
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Laurel
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS



E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!




Amazing!
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS



E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.
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Choisya
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

Do you mean because of his book on Richard III Everyman, which set the scene for much of the writing about Richard III which followed and which gave him a bad character? More was only doing what many historians have done in 'talking down' a Royal house once the other Royal house acceded to the throne - this was the Tudors v. the Plantaganets/Yorks. The victors' stories are always the ones which get the best publicity. It has happenened throughout history and is happening now as our own history is being written. Fortunately, Richard III is now part of 'revisionist' history and his character has been restored in all our school history books.

I don't think this necessarily made More dishonest, his head might have been chopped off by Henry VIII if he had done otherwise and the information he had access to at the time would have been biased in favour of the Tudors, who had been on the throne since 1485.




Everyman wrote:


E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.


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Everyman
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

I am aware of no indication that he was in any danger of death if he hadn't written the history. Yes, victors write the history books, but they can do so with relative honesty. He didn't.

You may find him forgivable. I don't.

Choisya wrote:
Do you mean because of his book on Richard III Everyman, which set the scene for much of the writing about Richard III which followed and which gave him a bad character? More was only doing what many historians have done in 'talking down' a Royal house once the other Royal house acceded to the throne - this was the Tudors v. the Plantaganets/Yorks. The victors' stories are always the ones which get the best publicity. It has happenened throughout history and is happening now as our own history is being written. Fortunately, Richard III is now part of 'revisionist' history and his character has been restored in all our school history books.

I don't think this necessarily made More dishonest, his head might have been chopped off by Henry VIII if he had done otherwise and the information he had access to at the time would have been biased in favour of the Tudors, who had been on the throne since 1485.




Everyman wrote:


E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.





_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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Choisya
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

I don't care about him one way or the other Everyman but we have to take into account the period and the repressive regime he lived under. Also, he was a Catholic and catholics have been denigrated in British history books since the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VII. Therefore Thomas More has also had a bad press and what we read about him in regard to his writing about Richard III may not be true either. Very little of our more ancient history was written honestly. History was often written to bolster up the reign of a king or ruler and many historians were in the pay of those rulers - they held sway and were published. Nowadays historians have to be more careful because we all have access to alternative research. But we have only to look at the history of WWI to see how biased accounts can still be - towards one side or the other or one ally or another. For Americans, America won the war, for Europeans the other Allies did, for instance. And that depends on what everyone read or heard in their lifetimes in their different countries. And of course Daving Irving has a different account altogether.:smileysad: Which version will our great-grandchildren be reading?




Everyman wrote:
I am aware of no indication that he was in any danger of death if he hadn't written the history. Yes, victors write the history books, but they can do so with relative honesty. He didn't.

You may find him forgivable. I don't.

Choisya wrote:
Do you mean because of his book on Richard III Everyman, which set the scene for much of the writing about Richard III which followed and which gave him a bad character? More was only doing what many historians have done in 'talking down' a Royal house once the other Royal house acceded to the throne - this was the Tudors v. the Plantaganets/Yorks. The victors' stories are always the ones which get the best publicity. It has happenened throughout history and is happening now as our own history is being written. Fortunately, Richard III is now part of 'revisionist' history and his character has been restored in all our school history books.

I don't think this necessarily made More dishonest, his head might have been chopped off by Henry VIII if he had done otherwise and the information he had access to at the time would have been biased in favour of the Tudors, who had been on the throne since 1485.




Everyman wrote:


E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.








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E_Darcy
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS



Everyman wrote:
I am aware of no indication that he was in any danger of death if he hadn't written the history. Yes, victors write the history books, but they can do so with relative honesty. He didn't.

You may find him forgivable. I don't.

Choisya wrote:
Do you mean because of his book on Richard III Everyman, which set the scene for much of the writing about Richard III which followed and which gave him a bad character? More was only doing what many historians have done in 'talking down' a Royal house once the other Royal house acceded to the throne - this was the Tudors v. the Plantaganets/Yorks. The victors' stories are always the ones which get the best publicity. It has happenened throughout history and is happening now as our own history is being written. Fortunately, Richard III is now part of 'revisionist' history and his character has been restored in all our school history books.

I don't think this necessarily made More dishonest, his head might have been chopped off by Henry VIII if he had done otherwise and the information he had access to at the time would have been biased in favour of the Tudors, who had been on the throne since 1485.




Everyman wrote:


E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.








I have never read Utopia and didn't even know there was a movie about Sr. Thomas More. On the drive over, I had just had a conversation w/a friend (not the person I was going to visit), not 15 minutes before about joining the book club and the up coming book discussion. That's when my friend told me about that there was a movie about him.
So, I walk in--and what's playing on the TV....
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Peter Ackroyd's THE LIFE OF THOMAS MORE

[ Edited ]
He wasn't perfect, but he was extraordinary. Have you read Peter Ackroyd's biography?

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=978038549693...

Message Edited by pmath on 03-07-200712:21 PM

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E_Darcy
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Re: Peter Ackroyd's THE LIFE OF THOMAS MORE



pmath wrote:
He wasn't perfect, but he was extraordinary. Have you read Peter Ackroyd's biography?

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=978038549693...

Everyman wrote:
That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.

E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!



No, I haven't yet, but I will.
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Choisya
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Re: The Tudors and anti-catholicism

[ Edited ]
Sir Thomas More wasn't the only culprit when it came to denigrating Richard III, it started much earlier:-

http://www.r3.org/bookcase/polydor2.html

In the link you gave to Ackroyd's book Pmath, the comment by Andrew Sullivan is very pertinent and is what I wrote about to Everyman earlier. I do not know how much Americans know about the anti-catholic propaganda in UK history but it has been very prevalent and is only now being addressed by historians. As you probably know, we are still unable to have a Catholic Queen or Prime Minister because of this long, bitter history. So it is important to look at the writings and life of More, a prominent and revered Roman Catholic, in the light of this propaganda and the oppression that catholics suffered in his time. We will no doubt address this aspect of his life in our reading of Utopia.

(Do you know, for instance, that much of the opposition to Prince Charles' consort, Camilla Parker-Bowles, has been about her conversion to Catholicism during her previous marriage and that our Prime Minister, Tony Blair, is said to want to convert to Catholicism but cannot do so whilst he is Prime Minister.)






pmath wrote:
He wasn't perfect, but he was extraordinary. Have you read Peter Ackroyd's biography?

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=978038549693...

Everyman wrote:
That was one of my favorite movies until I found out how dishonest More really was. That sort of spoiled the movie for me.

E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!


Message Edited by Choisya on 02-26-200706:04 AM

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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS



Choisya wrote:
... Therefore Thomas More has also had a bad press and what we read about him in regard to his writing about Richard III may not be true either.

As to bad press, I don't know what you're referring to. He hadn't had a bad press on this side of the ocean. The Oxford Companion to British History, about as British a source as one could ask for, couldn't be nicer to him, and the Encyclopedia Britannica's 11th edition is as nice to him as it could be. He was canonized in 1935, which would seem to constitute good, rather than bad, press.

As to his writing about Richard III, it is pretty clear to me, as to most scholars of the time that I read, that it was a political hatchet job.

It's very nice of you to try to defend him, for what reasons I don't know other than that I was the one mentioning his dishonesty, but unless you can give me good citations to indicate that he was honest in his treatment of Richard III I remain satisfied that he was at least in that episode of his life quite a dishonest man perfectly willing to trash the reputation of another for his political benefit. Which may not have been unique at the time (or now), but is still not admirable.
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Choisya
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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

[ Edited ]
I am NOT defending him Everyman I am telling it like it is over here about Catholics - they have had a 'bad press' throughout our history and are still mistrusted at the seats of power. He was canonised by the Pope not by the British. Have you looked at recent editions of encyclopaedias where they are trying to put the history about Richard III straight and mention that More was 'unreliable'? I am not saying that he was 'honest' in his treatment of Richard III and I do not deny that Richard III has had a political hatchet job done on him but I do think we have to take into account that the Tudors were in power and that from Henry VIII onwards the rulers of this country, with the exception Bloody Mary and of the Stuarts, one of whom was beheaded and the other despatched, were Protestants with an axe to grind against catholicism. Everyone did a hatchet job on the Plantaganets and the Yorks from 1485 onwards and More was just one of many conforming to the status quo. Did you read the link I gave to Pmath? Yes it was a political hatchet job, like many many more political hatchet jobs but those who wrote political hatchet jobs under oppressive rulers usually had their reasons or could do no other. What 'honest' history was written in Russia under Stalin, for instance? People write 'hagiographies' about oppressive rulers, they write what the rulers want to hear. Just as artists painted them without the 'warts'.

What Tudor scholars have you read which gave Richard III a good name- I would be interested to hear of them. Hindsight in history is a wonderful thing and what we are reading now about Richard III is hindsight. Had it been written in former times it would be 'off with his head'.

It matters not to me what you think of Thomas More, I am an atheist and defend no religious interests, but overall he still has a good name as a scholar and he was one of the few who stood up to Henry VIII and paid the ultimate price.




Everyman wrote:


Choisya wrote:
... Therefore Thomas More has also had a bad press and what we read about him in regard to his writing about Richard III may not be true either.

As to bad press, I don't know what you're referring to. He hadn't had a bad press on this side of the ocean. The Oxford Companion to British History, about as British a source as one could ask for, couldn't be nicer to him, and the Encyclopedia Britannica's 11th edition is as nice to him as it could be. He was canonized in 1935, which would seem to constitute good, rather than bad, press.

As to his writing about Richard III, it is pretty clear to me, as to most scholars of the time that I read, that it was a political hatchet job.

It's very nice of you to try to defend him, for what reasons I don't know other than that I was the one mentioning his dishonesty, but unless you can give me good citations to indicate that he was honest in his treatment of Richard III I remain satisfied that he was at least in that episode of his life quite a dishonest man perfectly willing to trash the reputation of another for his political benefit. Which may not have been unique at the time (or now), but is still not admirable.

Message Edited by Choisya on 02-26-200701:50 PM

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For E_Darcy: Special Edition DVD of the 1966 Film A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

[ Edited ]
E, was it the 1966 or the 1988 adaptation? This is featured today on the bn.com homepage:

http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=0043396180857


E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!

Message Edited by pmath on 02-26-200701:59 PM

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E_Darcy
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Re: For E_Darcy: Special Edition DVD of the 1966 Film A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

I believe, it was the 1966
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More: Human and Humanist

[ Edited ]
I read it, Choisya: thanks! He was certainly very human, and he knew it, but this is precisely what makes his final, heroic act all the more remarkable, IMO.


Choisya wrote:
Did you read the link I gave to Pmath? ...

...

...overall he still has a good name as a scholar and he was one of the few who stood up to Henry VIII and paid the ultimate price.

Message Edited by pmath on 02-26-200706:44 PM

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Re: Thomas More's UTOPIA and Robert Bolt's A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS

So more was "unreliable," eh? That's hardly a pejorative word showing prejudice against him because he was Catholic. (Are you willing to say that Blair and Bush were merely "unreliable" about the reasons for going to war in Iraq? I thought not.)

History has treated him kindly; much more kindly, IMO, than he deserves. But then, historians always have a soft spot for humanists and self-martyrs.

His problem wasn't because he was Catholic, but because he refused to promise absolute fidelity to Henry and refused to obey the law. The Pope at that time wasn't merely a religious figure but was a powerful political figure, head of state, and foe of England. The law required More to swear allegiance to the King of England above all other kings, including the Pope. When he refused, he placed allegiance to a foreign state above allegiance to his own country, which was not only against the law but was an act of treason, which even today is a basis for the death penalty.

Many Catholics took the oath without a problem. They were willing to recognize the King as supreme political leader and the Pope as their spiritual leader, and weren't persecuted for that. The point being that it wasn't his Catholicism that got him killed but his treason.
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Thomas More

But the oath that More refused to take wasn't just an oath of fidelity to a king, it was also one recognizing the King as supreme head of the church in England - negating the power and status of the pope. Catholics believe that the pope is the head of the church - the entire church, not just the church in Rome. Therefore, this oath would go against More's personal religious beliefs.

Yes, he could have taken the oath as many others did. But he must have been a man of strong convictions to take the stand he did. Many were executed for the very same beliefs and convictions. It's Henry who tied up religion with state - binding them together that to disagree with the religious aspect made one guilty of treason against their country.

The Catholics who took the oath did not recognize the Pope as their spiritual leader, but Henry. That was the whole point of the oath - not just to swear loyalty to their king. That would have been done when Henry came to the throne. A new king would receive oaths of fealty upon his ascension. Henry wanted them to recognize him as head of the church and not the pope, who had refused to grant his annulment from Katherine of Aragon so that he could marry Anne Boleyn.



Everyman wrote:
So more was "unreliable," eh? That's hardly a pejorative word showing prejudice against him because he was Catholic. (Are you willing to say that Blair and Bush were merely "unreliable" about the reasons for going to war in Iraq? I thought not.)

History has treated him kindly; much more kindly, IMO, than he deserves. But then, historians always have a soft spot for humanists and self-martyrs.

His problem wasn't because he was Catholic, but because he refused to promise absolute fidelity to Henry and refused to obey the law. The Pope at that time wasn't merely a religious figure but was a powerful political figure, head of state, and foe of England. The law required More to swear allegiance to the King of England above all other kings, including the Pope. When he refused, he placed allegiance to a foreign state above allegiance to his own country, which was not only against the law but was an act of treason, which even today is a basis for the death penalty.

Many Catholics took the oath without a problem. They were willing to recognize the King as supreme political leader and the Pope as their spiritual leader, and weren't persecuted for that. The point being that it wasn't his Catholicism that got him killed but his treason.


Liz ♥ ♥


Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested. ~ Francis Bacon
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For E_Darcy: The Common Man

Ah, so you missed the Common Man! He's in the 1988 adaptation, which is closer to the original play, which you may wish to read, too:

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=978067972822...


E_Darcy wrote:
I believe, it was the 1966

pmath wrote:
E, was it the 1966 or the 1988 adaptation? This is featured today on the bn.com homepage:

http://video.barnesandnoble.com/search/product.asp?bnrefer=BRITISHCLASSICS&EAN=0043396180857

E_Darcy wrote:
A Man For All Seasons was playing on a TV station, today. The person I was visiting today was watching it when I walked in.
I thought that was pretty cool!
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Everyman
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Re: Thomas More



LizzieAnn wrote:
But the oath that More refused to take wasn't just an oath of fidelity to a king, it was also one recognizing the King as supreme head of the church in England - negating the power and status of the pope.

The Act of Supremacy, which I've quoted below, required an oath of allegiance to the King as the head of the Church of England, called Anglicana Ecclesia. One could still take an oath accepting Henry as the head of that church while still maintaining that the Pope was the head of the true Catholic faith. Any lawyer who wanted to could easily parse this language

But we must keep in mind that More was NOT executed for his refusal to take the oath. He had sealed his fate earlier when he retired from his position as Lord Chancellor rather than approve the marriage of Henry to Anne Boleyn and refused the invitation to attend the wedding (even today, one does NOT refuse personal invitations from the Crown to attend official functions without expecting significant repercussions. It just, as the British say, isn't done).

But at his trial, his conviction was not for refusing to take the oath; rather, it was because of his alleged confession (almost certainly perjured, but never as far as I know actually prove to be perjured) that he could not declare the king supreme because that would abrogate Parliament's right to depose a ruler. A jury (probably hand picked, but still a British jury) found this to be treason.

Here is a report that appears to be contemporaneous, or close to contemporaneous, of the trial. I haven't verified its accuracy against the source it is reportedly from, but it has the look and feel of reports of trials from the period that I have read in the past.
http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/more/moretrialreport.html

So while the common belief is that he was executed for refusing to take the oath, and that was one of the motivations for his trial (though basically he had sealed his fate some time earlier by insulting Henry by refusing to attend the wedding), the fact is that he was not convicted of refusing to take the oath, but of treason for allegedly asserting the right of Parliament to depose a king.

The Act of Supremacy, 1534
Albeit the King's Majesty justly and rightfully is and ought to be the supreme head of the Church of England, and so is recognized by the clergy of this realm in their Convocations, yet nevertheless for corroboration and confirmation thereof, and for increase of virtue in Christ's religion within this realm of England, and to repress and extirp all errors, heresies and other enormities and abuses heretofore used in the same:
Be it enacted by authority of this present Parliament that the King, our sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, kings of this realm, shall be taken, accepted and reputed the only supreme head in earth of the Church of England, called Anglicana Ecclesia; and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the imperial crown of this realm, as well the title and style thereof, as all honors, dignities, pre-eminences, jurisdictions, privileges, authorities, immunities, profits and commodities to the said dignity of supreme head of the same Church belonging and appertaining; and that our said sovereign lord, his heirs and successors, kings of this realm, shall have full power and authority from time to time to visit, repress, redress, reform, order, correct, restrain and amend all such errors, heresies, abuses, offenses, contempts and enormities, whatsoever they be, which by any manner, spiritual authority or jurisdiction ought or may lawfully be reformed, repressed, ordered, redressed, corrected, restrained or amended, most to the pleasure of Almighty God, the increase of virtue in Christ's religion, and for the conservation of the peace, unity and tranquillity of this realm, any usage, custom, foreign law, foreign authority, prescription or any other thing or things to the contrary hereof notwithstanding.
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