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
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)
5. "What came we forth for to see that our hearts are so hot with desire": Morris and Iceland
Section 2: Art: Preservation, Interior Design and Adaptations
6. Morris and Architecture
7. William Morris and Stained Glass
8. William Morris and the Rise of Interior Design
9. William Morris and the Culture Industry: Appropriation, Art, Critique
Section 3: Literature: Poetry, Art, Translation and Fantasy
10. A Question of Ornament: Poetry and the (Lesser) Arts
11. Making Pictures: Pre-Raphaelite Poetry and Its Reception"
12. William Whitla’s "William Morris and the Classical Tradition"
13 "A Very Animated Conversation on Icelandic Matters": The Saga Translations of William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon
14. Rewilding Morris: Wilderness and the Wild in the Last Romances
15. Windy, Tangible, Resonant Worlds: The Non-Human Fantasy of William Morris
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
18. William Morris and the Literature and Socialism of the Commonweal
Elizabeth C. Miller
19. Desire and Necessity: William Morris and Nature
20. Morris and Marxist Theory
Section 5: Books: Collecting and Design
21 William Morris’s Book Collecting
22. William Morris and the Kelmscott Press
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."