The Routledge Companion to William Morris  book cover
1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to William Morris

Edited By

Florence S. Boos

ISBN 9780415347433
Published October 30, 2020 by Routledge
556 Pages 52 Color & 60 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

William Morris (1834–96) was an English poet, decorative artist, translator, romance writer, book designer, preservationist, socialist theorist, and political activist, whose admirers have been drawn to the sheer intensity of his artistic endeavors and efforts to live up to radical ideals of social justice.

This Companion draws together historical and critical responses to the impressive range of Morris’s multi-faceted life and activities: his homes, travels, family, business practices, decorative artwork, poetry, fantasy romances, translations, political activism, eco-socialism, and book collecting and design. Each chapter provides valuable historical and literary background information, reviews relevant opinions on its subject from the late-nineteenth century to the present, and offers new approaches to important aspects of its topic.

Morris’s eclectic methodology and the perennial relevance of his insights and practice make this an essential handbook for those interested in art history, poetry, translation, literature, book design, environmentalism, political activism, and Victorian and utopian studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Visions Not Dreams: Morris as Designer, Socialist, Entrepreneur, Poet . . . .

Florence S. Boos

Section 1: Morris’s Life, Family, and Environs

1. Morris’s Biographies

Michael Robertson

2 Business in the Creative Life of William Morris 

Charles Harvey, Jon Press and Mairi Maclean 

3. Morris, Family, and the Woman Question

Florence S. Boos

4. "Kelmscott Manor. Mr Morris’s Country Place" (1871-1896)

Julia Griffin

5. "What came we forth for to see that our hearts are so hot with desire": Morris and Iceland

Martin Stott

Section 2: Art: Preservation, Interior Design and Adaptations

6. Morris and Architecture

Christopher Miele

7. William Morris and Stained Glass

Jim Cheshire

8. William Morris and the Rise of Interior Design

Margaretta Frederick

9. William Morris and the Culture Industry: Appropriation, Art, Critique

David Mabb

Section 3: Literature: Poetry, Art, Translation and Fantasy

10. A Question of Ornament: Poetry and the (Lesser) Arts

Elizabeth Helsinger

11. Making Pictures: Pre-Raphaelite Poetry and Its Reception"

David Latham

12. William Whitla’s "William Morris and the Classical Tradition"

William Whitla

13 "A Very Animated Conversation on Icelandic Matters": The Saga Translations of William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon

Paul Acker

14. Rewilding Morris: Wilderness and the Wild in the Last Romances

Phillippa Bennett

15. Windy, Tangible, Resonant Worlds: The Non-Human Fantasy of William Morris

John Plotz

Section 4: Literature and Socialism

16. William Morris and British Politics: From the Liberal Party to the Socialist League

Frank C. Sharp

17. News from Nowhere in the Museum of Literary Interpretations

Tony Pinkney

18. William Morris and the Literature and Socialism of the Commonweal

Elizabeth C. Miller

19. Desire and Necessity: William Morris and Nature

Patrick O’Sullivan

20. Morris and Marxist Theory

Owen Holland

Section 5: Books: Collecting and Design

21 William Morris’s Book Collecting

Yuri Cowan

22. William Morris and the Kelmscott Press

Nicholas Frankel

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Florence S. Boos is the author of two books on Morris’s poetry. She has also edited several of his works, and is the general editor of the William Morris Archive.


"The Companion is an outstanding and extraordinary guide to all aspects of the reformer’s life and work, animated by the recognition that because of Morris’s versatile activities, no single scholar could ever attempt to research all aspects of the man. It has 22 chapters in over 600 pages with very fresh and fascinating visual material, including over 120 mostly unpublished images."

--Five Books