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.


chapter Colloquy I|11 pages

The Introduction

chapter Colloquy II|8 pages

The Improvement of the World

chapter Colloquy III|11 pages

The Druidical Stones. – Visitations of Pestilence

chapter Colloquy IV|19 pages

Feudal Slavery. – Growth of Pauperism

chapter Colloquy V|13 pages

Decay of the Feudal System. – Edward VI. – Alfred

chapter Colloquy VI|16 pages

Walla Crag. – Owen of Lanark

chapter Colloquy VII|28 pages

The Manufacturing System

chapter Colloquy VIII|21 pages

Steam – War – Prospects of Europe

chapter Colloquy IX|38 pages

Derwentwater – Catholic Emancipation – Ireland

part |238 pages

chapter Colloquy X|41 pages

Crosthwaite Church. – St. Kentigern

chapter Colloquy XI|28 pages

Infidelity. – Church Establishment

chapter Colloquy XII|51 pages

Blencathra. – Threlkeld Tarn. – The Cliffords

chapter Colloquy XIII|48 pages

The River Greta. – Trade. – Population. – Colonies

chapter Colloquy XIV|42 pages

The Library

chapter Colloquy XV|9 pages

The Conclusion