Tomasso Campanella Criticism - Essay

Lewis Mumford (essay date 1922)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: An excerpt from The Story of Utopias, Boni and Liveright, 1922, pp. 103-08.

[In the following excerpt from his critical study of Utopian thought, Mumford characterizes Campanella 's City of the Sun as a "utopia of means, " largely concerned with mechanical inventions and the material perfection of society.]

A Genoese sea-captain is the guest of a Grand Master of the Knights Hospitaller. This sea-captain tells him of a great country under the equator, dominated by the City of the Sun. The outward appearance of this country is a little strange—the city with its seven rings named after the seven planets, and its four gates that lead to the four quarters...

(The entire section is 1097 words.)

Marie Louise Berneri (essay date 1950)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tommaso Campanella: The City of the Sun," in Journey Through Utopia, 1950. Reprint by The Beacon Press, 1951, p. 88-102.

[In the following excerpt, Berneri provides an overview of Campanella's philosophical ideas, political activities, and lengthy imprisonment, and notes that "The City of the Sun is in fact closely related to Campanella 's unsuccessful attempt to create a Republic of Calabria"]

There is none of More's literary elegance and fine irony in Campanella's City of the Sun, for unlike him he did not write in the pleasant circle of refined humanists but with his mind and limbs still aching from the tortures of the Inquisition....

(The entire section is 2626 words.)

Ernst Bloch (essay date 1959)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Counterpart to More: Campanella's City of the Sun or the Utopia of Social Order," in The Principle of Hope, 1959, translated by Neville Plaice, Stephen Plaice, and Paul Knight, Basil Blackwell, 1986, pp. 523-34.

[In the following excerpt from The Principle of Hope, originally published in German as Das Prinzip Hoffnung, Bloch contrasts the Utopian vision of Campanella with that of More, arguing that these two writers influenced two opposing traditions of Utopian writing: social order and freedom.]

The Baroque is the age of centralized royal power, and it was progressive at that time. A totally authoritarian and also bureaucratic utopia:...

(The entire section is 2652 words.)

Bernardino M. Bonansea (essay date 1969)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Political Theory: The Ideal State," in Tommaso Campanella: Renaissance Pioneer of Modern Thought, The Catholic University of America Press, 1969, pp. 264-98.

[Reacting against interpretations of The City of the Sun as a communist or rationalist Utopia, Bonansea views Campanella's Utopian text as depicting an ideal society "in the pure order of nature," "modeled after the system of early Christian communities."]

The City of the Sun, which in its Latin edition appears as an appendix to the treatise Politica in aphorismos digesta, is a fictional dialogue. In it a Genoese Sea Captain tells a Grandmaster of the Knights Hospitalers about his...

(The entire section is 4615 words.)

Timothy J. Reiss (essay date 1973)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Structure and Mind in Two Seventeenth-Century Utopias: Campanella and Bacon," in Yale French Studies, Vol. 49, 1973, pp. 82-95.

[Reiss compares Campanella's and Bacon's Utopian texts as illustrating two types of Utopian vision"the dynamic and the static."]

The Utopian thinker, according to Marx, writes as a bourgeois who, in the silence of his study, gives free play at once to his reason and his imagination, and it may be supposed that this acknowledged duality of cause has its reflexion in the result. For the utopian ideal is at once a meditation upon history or an historical situation and a proposing of an "ideal" solution to that history. Indeed,...

(The entire section is 4608 words.)

Jon Snyder (essay date 1985)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: " The City of the Sun and the Poetics of the Utopian Dialogue," in Stanford Italian Review, Vol. 2, Fall, 1985, pp. 175-87.

[In the following excerpt, Snyder examines the poetics of Campanella's Utopian text, arguing that Campanella deliberately chose the dialogic form since dialogism is intrinsic to the liminal nature of all Utopian fiction.]

Tommaso Campanella (1568-1639) is known today chiefly for his famous work of Utopian fiction, La Città del Sole (The City of the Sun), still widely considered among the most important texts in the Renaissance Utopian tradition. Despite its status as a specifically literary work, though, The City of the...

(The entire section is 4552 words.)

Jackson Spielvogel (essay date 1987)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Reflections on Renaissance Hermeticism and Seventeenth-Century Utopias," in Utopian Studies, Vol. I, 1987, pp. 188-97.

[In the following excerpt, Spielvogel traces the influence of Hermeticism on Campanella 's philosophy in relation to the combination of science and magic that characterizes his ideal society.]

Although modern historians rarely agree on any significant issue, there is a fair degree of unanimity on viewing the seventeenth century as the turning point in the emergence of modern Western history. It was a century full of plagues, constitutional crises, famines, population declines, economic depression, almost constant warfare, and widespread...

(The entire section is 1754 words.)

Anthony Stephens (essay date 1984)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "The Sun State and its Shadow: On the Condition of Utopian Writing," in Utopias, edited by Eugene Kamenka, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1987, pp. 1-19.

[In the following essay, originally presented at the Fifteenth Annual Symposium of the Australian Academy of the Humanities in 1984, Stephens discusses the dystopian "shadow" in Campanella's City of the Sun, and contrasts the fictional techniques used by utopian writers of the Renaissance with those of later centuries.]

Any beginning for an essay such as this has to be arbitrary. Rather than begin with Thomas More, I shall instead take one of his successors, who wrote about a century later, namely...

(The entire section is 6557 words.)

John M. Headley (essay date 1988)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "On the Rearming of the Heaven: The Machiavellism of Tommaso Campanella," in Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 49, No. 3, July-September, 1988, pp. 387-404.

[Despite his avowed aversion of Machivellian philosophy, Campanella is often viewed as a Machiavellian writer. In the excerpt below, Headley concludes that despite seeming similarities between the two political philosophers, their differing historical contexts lead to fundamental ideological conflicts, especially with respect to the role of religion in civic society.]

After Aristotle the greatest single intellectual antagonist of Campanella was Niccolò Machiavelli. Although Campanella was born forty...

(The entire section is 6509 words.)

John M. Headley (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tommaso Campanella and the End of the Renaissance," in Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2, Fall, 1990, pp. 157-74.

[In the following excerpt, Headley argues that the contradictory elements in Campanella's philosophy are representative of a changing historical movement as the Renaissance gave way to the modern age at the beginning of the seventeenth century.]

Do historical periods, or better yet historical movements, have an end, a definitive termination? It is hardly necessary to observe that historical periods exist in historians' heads as means of defining the past; such periods can only begin to have substantive meaning insofar as...

(The entire section is 5902 words.)

John M. Headley (essay date 1990)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Tommaso Campanella and Jean de Launoy: The Controversy over Aristotle and his Reception in the West," in Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. XLIII, No. 3, Autumn, 1990, pp. 529-50.

[Focusing on Campanella's polemic, On the Gentilism that must not be adhered to, Headley argues that Campanella's anti-Aristotelianism derives from his commitment to Christianity and the new spirit of empiricism.]

In his first published work, the Philosophy Demonstrated by the Senses (Naples, 1591), Tommaso Campanella evinced at the outset of his long intellectual career that abiding and most pronounced feature of his entire philosophical position, namely, an opposition to...

(The entire section is 6247 words.)

Stephanie Laggini-Fiore (essay date 1992)

(Literary Criticism (1400-1800))

SOURCE: "Messianic Vision in the Poetry of Fra Tommaso Campanella," in Romance Languages Annual, Vol. 4, 1992, pp. 270-77.

[Focusing on Campanella's poetry, Laggini-Fiore discusses the autobiographical aspects of Campanella's utopian vision.]

Little has been written on what Franc Ducros [in Tommaso Campanella Poète, 1969] calls Fra Tommaso Campanella's rôle messianique, yet the messianic vision of the poet is central to both his poetry and his life. It was the direct result of his relationship with the world and with society: his poetry was written while he languished in the jails of the Inquisition for many years; his defense of Galileo was a response...

(The entire section is 7097 words.)