The phenomenon of
republication in the early modern period invariably opens up large
and rich questions. The case can be made with the 1643 publication
of Mundus Alter et Idem. Mundus Alter et Idem
is a tale of a journey to the southern continent, the kind of fictitious
travel narrative for which J. Max Patrick coined the term "dystopia"
It was written in
Latin in the early years of the seventeenth century by a pseudonymous
author, and was published with misleading information about the
place of publication on the title page. The unreliable authority
of the title page adds to a reader's
sense of disorientation: where is this place and who is the guide?
A series of fold-out maps mimic the conventions of cartographic
authority and integrate recognizable landmarks in both the old and
new worlds (on the top half of the first map) with the wholly unexpected
and theretofore undiscovered lands of, for instance, Crapulia ("excessive
intoxication," which is made up of two provinces, Pamphagonia,
"voracious gluttons," and Yvronia, "drunkards");
Viraginia ("land of shrewish women"); Moronia ("land
of fools"); and Lavernia ("land of thieves") on the
It turns out, Australis—"another
world and yet the same"—is an irrational place of corrupt
abandon. In 1642, John Milton first identified Bishop Joseph Hall
as the author of the satiric work. The identification was more in
the nature of an accusation of moral laxity, however, given that
Hall was Archbishop Laud's chosen defender of episcopacy and Milton
was then engaged in vituperative attacks on the established church.
Perhaps the 1643 republication—in
an elegantly small and well-printed Latin edition—is in support
of Hall's reputation for learning. Like the earliest edition, it,
too, proclaims to be printed abroad, though the place of publication
could again have been London. But Hall is still not identified as
the author in 1643, and support of his position or his work is not
necessarily the only or most likely motivation for republication.
For two additional
titles are appended to Mundus Alter et Idem in 1643. Each
utopias of a sort, they are Tommaso Campanella's Civitatis Solis
(The City of the Sun) (first published 1623) and Sir Francis
Bacon's New Atlantis (first published posthumously in 1627
and first translated into Latin in 1638). Each is separately paginated
and has its own title page. The packaging of the three together
is marketed "propter affinitatem materiae" ("due
to the closeness of the subject matter").
The grounds for the
association of the three titles bears further investigation, as
does the intended audience. For whatever reason, Hall's journey
through the excesses of his contemporary society was resurrected
at a time Hall himself was under siege. Mundus Alter et Idem
belongs in a tradition that includes the writings of Aristophanes,
Petronius, Lucian, Rabelais, and Erasmus, and extends through the
satires of Butler and Swift.
Central Connecticut State University
Hall, Joseph. Another World and Yet
the Same: Bishop Joseph Hall's "Mundus Alter et Idem."
Translated and edited by John Millar Wands. New Haven and London:
Yale University Press, 1981.
Healey, John. The Discovery of a New
World. Edited by Huntington Brown. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, 1937.
Kinloch, T.F. The Life and Works of
Joseph Hall, 1574-1656. New York: Staples Press, 1951.
McCabe, Richard A. Joseph Hall, A Study
in Satire and Meditation. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
Negley, Glenn, and J. Max Patrick, eds.
The Quest for Utopia: An Anthology of Imaginary Societies.
New York: Henry Schuman, 1952.
Wands, John Millar. "The Early Printing
History of Joseph Hall's Mundus Alter et Idem."
Papers of the Bibliographical Society of America 74 (1980):
Weinberger, Jerry. "Science and
Rule in Bacon's Utopia: An Introduction to the Reading of the
New Atlantis." American Political Science Review