The 1611 Utopia Season
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!
William Shakespeare, The Tempest
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main… any mans death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.
John Donne, Meditation XVII
Four hundred years ago Renaissance London was bursting with brilliant thinkers trying to create what they felt to be the best of all worlds. In 1611 the fruition of the remarkable ‘King James’ Bible project coincided exactly with the arrival of Galileo’s masterpiece The Messenger in England.
At Court Shakespeare was premiering The Tempest, his most
utopian play, while John Donne (whose ancestor Thomas More
coined the word ‘utopia’) was writing what became his
most celebrated verse.
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