Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

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Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Mon Sep 21, 2015 2:39 am

Utopia contains a lot of archaic English and colloquial phrasing. Please post phrases and vocabulary here which you find difficult to understand. We can use this section as a resource to pool our knowledge; please help your fellow students by defining the terms you know.

For example, I've noted the following sentence as ones that might be tricky in the first passage:

"some differences of no small consequence"

"show the sun with a lantern"

"Master of the Rolls/Margrave of Bruges/Provost of Casselsee"

"by a long practice in affairs, he was very dexterous at unravelling them"

"past the flower of his age"

"returning his civility"

"The Romans have left us nothing that is valuable, except what is to be found in Seneca and Cicero"

Try to explicate as many of these as you can, and post your own tricky sentences.


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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:07 am

“Show the sun with a lantern.”
"(having some differences of) no small consequence" ???
Shocked

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:16 am

Hi Eva, thanks for using this thread ~_~

To show the sun with the lantern is a proverb. The sun is, of course, brighter than a lantern (artificial light); nobody needs to turn the lights on to show the sun. The author is saying that his friend, Cuthbert Tonstal, is like the sun. He, Thomas, is only as bright as a lantern. It would add nothing to Cuthbert's glory for Thomas to praise him with his small abilities. In this context, Thomas is being modest and respectful.

A consequence is like a result. If you have differences of no small consequence, it means you disagree with someone so much that terrible things could happen as a result of that disagreement. This sentence describes very important argument or disagreement between people.

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:32 am

“The change of the word,” said he, “does not alter the matter.”   “But term ?it as you will,”

Saint Thomas More. Utopia (Kindle Location 136).

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:38 am

If you change the way you say something, it doesn't change the thing itself. Call it whatever you want - the thing stays the same.

In this context, it means: if you are working for and following the king, you are a slave (even if people don't call you a slave). Anyone who is not free is a slave, even if people use other words like "servant" or "assistant".

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:54 am

Now if in such a court, Question (made up of persons who envy all others and only admire themselves,) a person should but propose anything that he had either read in history or observed in his travels)

Saint Thomas More. Utopia (Kindle Location 154).
Not sure what "if in such a court" means... does it mean that it is a place that's full with people that envy others? Also, not sure what " should but" means...

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:58 am

there are none that are not so wise as to need no assistance, confused

Saint Thomas More. Utopia (Kindle Location 150).
There are so many "NON" in here!.... does it mean "no prince is wise enough so they do need assistance?"

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I think i got this, thanks a lot~~

Post by Eva Song Yihua on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:01 am

Eva Song Yihua wrote:Now if in such a court, Question  (made up of persons who envy all others and only admire themselves,) a person should but propose anything that he had either read in history or observed in his travels)

Saint Thomas More. Utopia (Kindle Location 154).
Not sure what "if in such a court" means... does it mean that it is a place that's full with people that envy others? Also, not sure what " should but" means...

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:03 am

there are none that are not so wise as to need no assistance

Yeah, this sentence has a lot of negatives!! O_o

"Even very wise people need help from others" (but most court ministers think they don't need any help)



Last edited by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:12 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 3:09 am

"a person should but propose anything that he had either read in history or observed in his travels"

If in such a court (a government assembly made of greedy, jealous, selfish people), someone suggests a good idea they learned from reading or travelling, other people will reject that idea. They will reject it because they don't want anyone else to seem smarter than them ("the rest would think that the reputation of their wisdom would sink").

More is explaining that the government is not full of wise people working together to help the citizens, but instead is made of narrow-minded people who only care about their own interests. They use the idea of "tradition" as a way to justify harmful laws and reject new ideas.

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by CHSTEphanie on Tue Sep 22, 2015 4:34 am

he said, "Do you see that man? I was just thinking to bring him to you." I answered, "He should have been very welcome on your account." "And on his own too."
(I'm so confused with their conversation confused confused

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Re: Utopia: Comprehension and vocabulary

Post by Admin on Tue Sep 22, 2015 5:57 am

Peter is offering to introduce the stranger (Raphael Hythloday) to Thomas.

When Thomas says "He should have been very welcome on your account.", he means: "I would like to meet him, because he is Peter's friend". ("on your account" means "because of you")
Peter replies: "Not only is he my friend, but he's also a really interesting person himself!"

Peter goes on: "....there is none alive that can give so copious an account of unknown nations and countries as he can do, which I know you very much desire."
A copious account is a long story. He means: "Raphael can tell you so much about foreign countries. I know you are very interested in that topic".

Next, Thomas says he thought Raphael might be a sailor. Peter answers that Rapahel is very educated, and travels for pleasure and adventure instead of for trade. Peter explains some of Raphael's travel and personal history.


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