Utopia Theory in History Abbey of Theleme

About the theoretical utopian society Abbey of Theleme devised by Francois Rabelais, about the social, political, and economic structure.

Name of Utopia: ABBEY OF THELEME

Who Created: Francois Rabelais (1494-1553). French satirist. A typical Renaissance man, with an encyclopedic knowledge, a love of literature, a hatred for scholastic doctrines, and a contempt for monastic life.

Described in: Gargantua (1534), Book I.

Physical Layout: A hexagonal-shaped chateau with 6 towers, surrounded by a forest. No wall about this convent. The Abbey contains large apartments, libraries, art galleries, a riding court, theater, pool, tennis courts, orchards, parks, an archery range, and a Garden of Pleasure.

Political and Social Structure: The Abbey is inhabited by an aristocracy based on intelligence and knowledge. The women have to be "faire, well featur'd, and of sweet disposition" and the men "comely, personable, and well-conditioned." No king or prince, no laws or politics. Only one rule: "Do as thou wilt."

Property and Distribution of Goods: A rich patron supplies everything desired.

Family/Sex/Marriage: The "Jollie Friars and Nuns" can marry if they wish and either leave or remain at the Abbey. Also, while at the Abbey one can take a mistress.

Place of Women: Generally equal, although men and women excel at different skills--men at riding and weaponry, women at sewing.

Daily Life: "All their life was spent . . . at their own free will and pleasure," which meant eating, drinking, playing, walking in the fields, hawking, hunting, singing and, if they wished, labor. "There should be neither Clock nor Dial . . . the greatest losse of time, that I know, is to count the hours--what good comes of it?"

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