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Thomas More: a biography

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with the contradictions such praise imposes on a towering figure. In Richard Marius's authoritative and engaging portrait, Sir Thomas More, the martyr and brilliant public figure, is a lesson for our season.
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Grouped Work ID 2e3b0458-56c2-fede-497c-1ffd304b3174
full_title thomas more
author marius richard
grouping_category book
lastUpdate 2018-03-18 22:54:06PM

Solr Details

accelerated_reader_point_value 0
accelerated_reader_reading_level 0
author Richard Marius
author_display Marius, Richard
available_at_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
collection_catalog Biography
detailed_location_catalog Main Library - Adult Biography

Most previous biographers of Thomas More have sought to prove him a saint; in this, the first full-scale biography of More in half a century, Richard Marius, a leading Reformation historian, seeks to restore the man. More's life spanned a tumultuous period in Western history. He was born in 1478 into a society still medieval in its customs and laws. But by the time of his death in 1535 England was already shaken to its depths by the powerful and unsettling ideas of the Renaissance. Marius draws upon important recent research and his profound knowledge of More's own voluminous writing to make a coherent whole of the life and work of the immensely complex man who was both a product of the times and a singular figure in them.

He gives us More the boy--his London childhood, he deep respect for his father, who rose from a tradesman's background to become a judge of the highest court in the land (a "council of fathers" was to rule More's kingdom of Utopia) . . . More the youth--sent at about age twelve to serve in the household of the powerful and political Bishop Morton, later struggling to choose between the priesthood and the lures of secular life: marriage and a career in the great world... More the Londoner, the city man--lawyer, graduate of the Inns of Court, member of the rising middle class with its drive for an achievement and position.

We see More the humanist man of letter as Marius treats in full his friendship with Erasmus; his now controversial History of Richard III, from which Shakespeare's Richard derives; and the originals and meanings of his most famous work, Utopia. More the family man is reveal in his relationship with his father, his two wives, and his children as far more complex than the sanctified image of legend.

Marius explore More's public career as Lord Chancellor, as champion of the Catholic church, and finally as martyr to the old faith. He shows us a man who, although he hated and feared tyrants, always believes that authority as a source of order was necessary to the public good--a man who as royal councilor and Lord Chancellor upheld his king until the very moment when, in response to Henry's final tyranny, he chose "to die the King's good servant, but God's first." Marius also demonstrates that it was the centuries-old authority of the Catholic Church that More revered; that he was as suspicious of paper supremacy as of any tyranny.

The man Marius ultimately reveals is one more passionate and driven (in his family life, his convictions, his persecution of heretics) than the serene hero of A Man For All Seasons. But he is also a man possessed of such wit, integrity and charm that he was loved not only by his family but by almost everyone who knew him. It is the special triumph of this biography that with its rare combination of impeccable scholarship and narrative power, we are brought into the presence of a whole person with all his flaws and virtues, and that by the time More meets his death, he has become familiar and important to us not merely as a historical figure but also as a human being.

format_catalog Book, eBook
format_category_catalog Books, eBook
id 2e3b0458-56c2-fede-497c-1ffd304b3174
isbn 9780307828057, 9780394459820, 9780674885257
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itype_catalog , Book
lexile_score -1
literary_form Non Fiction
literary_form_full Non Fiction
local_callnumber_catalog B M836m
owning_library_catalog Nashville Public Library
owning_location_catalog Main Kids, Main Library
primary_isbn 9780674885257
publishDate 1984, 2013
record_details ils:CARL0000032828|Book|Books||English|Knopf :|1984.|xxiv, 562 p. ; 25 cm., overdrive:d6585865-ab87-4a27-8f8c-9a7b8d56c449|eBook|eBook||English|Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|2013|
recordtype grouped_work
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subject_facet Christian saints -- England -- Biography, Great Britain -- History -- Henry VIII, 1509-1547, More, Thomas, -- Sir, Saint, -- 1478-1535, Statesmen -- Great Britain -- Biography
title_display Thomas More : a biography
title_full Thomas More, Thomas More : a biography / Richard Marius
title_short Thomas More :
title_sub a biography
topic_facet Biography, Biography & Autobiography, Christian saints, History, More, Thomas, Nonfiction, Religion & Spirituality, Statesmen