What does it mean to be a free citizen in times of war and tyranny? What kind of education is needed to be a 'first' or leading citizen in a strife-filled country? And what does it mean to be free when freedom is forcibly opposed? These concerns pervade Thomas More's earliest writings, writings mostly unkwn, including his 280 poems, declamation on tyrannicide, coronation ode for Henry VIII and his life of Pico della Mirandola, all written before Richard III and Utopia. This book analyzes those writings, guided especially by these questions: Faced with generations of civil war, what did young More see as the causes of that strife? What did he see as possible solutions? Why did More spend fourteen years after law school learning Greek and immersed in classical studies? Why do his early works use vocabulary devised by Cicero at the end of the Roman Republic?
Gerard Wegemer is professor of literature at the University of Dallas and, since 2000, he has been the founding director of the Center for Thomas More Studies. Among his publications are A Thomas More Source Book, Thomas More on Statesmanship and Thomas More: A Portrait of Courage. He has served as an editor for Moreana, the international journal on Thomas More and his times. He is editing a paperback series of Thomas More's major works and has written articles and reviews on Thomas More, Shakespeare and Renaissance humanism in such journals as Renascence, Philosophy and Rhetoric, Review of Politics, Ben Jonson Journal and Moreana. Wegemer has master's degrees in political philosophy and in literature from Boston College and Georgetown University, respectively, and earned his doctorate in English literature from the University of Notre Dame.