1st Edition

Sir Thomas More: or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society, by Robert Southey

    In 1829 Robert Southey published a book of his imaginary conversations with the original Utopian: Sir Thomas More; or Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society. The product of almost two decades of social and political engagement, Colloquies is Southey’s most important late prose work, and a key text of late 'Lake School' Romanticism. It is Southey’s own Espriella’s Letters (1807) reimagined as a dialogue of tory and radical selves; Coleridge’s Church and State (1830) cast in historical dramatic form. Over a series of wide-ranging conversations between the Ghost of More and his own Spanish alter-ego, ‘Montesinos’, Southey develops a richly detailed panorama of British history since the 1530s – from the Reformation to Catholic Emancipation. Exploring issues of religious toleration, urban poverty, and constitutional reform, and mixing the genres of dialogue, commonplace book, and picturesque guide, the Colloquies became a source of challenge and inspiration for important Victorian writers including Macaulay, Ruskin, Pugin and Carlyle.

    Volume I

    List of Illustrations



    Robert Southey: A Selective Chronology 1808-1843

    List of Abbreviations


    Progress and Prospects: Colloquies and Romantic History

    The Social Context: Southey and Robert Owen

    Origins and Composition

    Publication and Reception

    This Edition

    Note on the text and editorial procedures

    Sir Thomas More; or, Colloquies on the Progress and Prospects of Society (1829)

    Volume I



    I. Introduction

    II. The Improvement Of The World

    III. The Druidical Stones.—Visitations Of Pestilence

    IV. Feudal Slavery.—Growth Of Pauperism

    V. Decay of the Feudal System.—Edward VI.—Alfred

    VI. Walla Crag.—Owen Of Lanark

    VII. The Manufacturing System.—Part II.

    VIII. Steam.—War.—Prospects Of Europe

    IX. Derwentwater.—Catholic Emancipation.—Ireland

    Volume II

    X. Crosthwaite Church.—St. Kentigern.—Part II.—The Reformation.—Dissenters.—Methodists

    XI. Infidelity.—Church Establishment

    XII. Blencathra.—Threlkeld Tarn.—The Cliffords.—Part II.—Privileged Orders.—The American Governments

    XIII. The River Greta.—Trade.—Population.—Colonies.

    XIV. The Library

    XV. The Conclusion


    Notes and Illustrations


    Volume II

    Editorial Notes

    Appendix A: Reviews of Colloquies

    Appendix B: A note on ‘Montesinos’, Southey’s name in Colloquies

    Appendix C: Southey’s sources for Colloquies (edited from the Sale Catalogue of his library)




    Dr Tom Duggett is Associate Professor in English Literature at Xi'an Jiaotong - Liverpool University, Suzhou, China.