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Oskorei
Saturday, January 29th, 2005, 12:32 PM
William Morris (1834-1896) is one of the more interesting individuals in the history of art and political history. He was born in Essex, the son of a wealthy business-man. Originally he intended to take holy orders, but after reading such Conservative thinkers as Carlyle, Kingsley and Ruskin, he instead became an artist.

Morris was a succesful artist, and in several ways worked for a rebirth of various Medieval styles in his art (being heavily influenced by the pre-Raphaelites). Morris is known as one of the first writers in the genre of fantasy, with The Well at the World's end. He grew increasingly critical of the effects of Industrialism on art and artisans, reducing the artisan to a specialized wage-slave, and gradually drifted towards his own brand of Socialism. Morris wrote down his ideas in the form of a utopia, known as News from Nowhere. His thoughts later inspired the Guild-Socialists, and the Third Positionists.

A biography is found here:
http://www.morrissociety.org/bio.html

His writings are found online on this site:
http://www.marxists.org.uk/archive/morris/works/index.htm
The following would be of especial interest:

Art and Socialism
http://www.marxists.org.uk/archive/morris/works/1884/as/as.htm
A Dream of John Ball
http://www.marxists.org.uk/archive/morris/works/1886/johnball/index.htm
The Well at the World's End
http://www.marxists.org.uk/archive/morris/works/1892/wwend/index.htm
News from Nowhere
http://www.marxists.org.uk/archive/morris/works/1890/nowhere/index.htm

Since Morris wrote before the advent of mass-immigration, it is natural that we do not find much comments on that matter in his books. I doubt that he would have appreciated the multi-cultural society any more than he did the capitalist though, since they both are the murder of all local cultures.

Morris is interesting for several reasons, but his political thought is useful as an example of a combination of Socialism and Medievalism, the importance of Art in society, his anti-urban ethos, his Anarchist utopia and anti-industrialism.

Odin Biggles
Saturday, January 29th, 2005, 01:54 PM
Good post :), I learned abit about him at School, but your links fill ina few missed out parts :thumbup.