William Morris's Utopia of Strangers

October 2006
11 black and white illustrations
234 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
English Association Studies
ISBN: 9781843840886
Format: Hardback
Library eBook

William Morris's Utopia of Strangers

Victorian Medievalism and the Ideal of Hospitality

Marcus Waithe

William Morris's conception of hospitality as a form of political tolerance is surveyed within the context of Victorian medievalism.
It is commonly argued that William Morris's notion of the good society is uniquely tolerant - a claim which this book tests, asking whether Victorian medievalism and the associated ideal of hospitality offered Morris the resources to develop a new conception of utopia, characterized by openness rather than classical exclusivity. This central theme is addressed across a range of artistic and intellectual contexts, from Victorian neo-feudalism to socialism and the Arts and Crafts Movement, and drawing from work in literature, architecture, anthropology, political theory, law, art history and translation. Together with an analysis of the roots and legacy of Morris's work, the book offers a detailed survey of his many projects.

Dr MARCUS WAITHE lectures in Victorian Literature at the University of Sheffield.

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Table of Contents

Wanderers Entertained: Idealized Hospitality in the Literature of Nineteenth-Century Medievalism
Before `the days when hospitality had to be bought and sold': Idealized Hospitality and Aesthetic Separatism in Morris's Work of the 1860s and 1870s1870s
Entertaining the Past: Problems in Tourism, Translation and Preservation
Utopian Hospitality: The Teutonic `House Community' and the Hammersmith Guest House


Although the title makes Waithe's study seem narrow [...] the book itself unfolds riches. This is not only the best book-length study of Morris I have read in the past decade but also an enlightening elucidation of medievalism within Victorian culture. VICTORIAN STUDIES

A scholarly and highly readable account. THE JOURNAL OF PRE-RAPHAELITE STUDIES

[A] learned study. Waithe's range of reference and command of Morris's oeuvre are truly remarkable. STUDIES IN ENGLISH LITERATURE

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