William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary

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PM Press, Mar 7, 2011 - Biography & Autobiography - 880 pages

William Morris—the great 19th-century craftsman, designer, poet and writer—remains a monumental figure whose influence resonates powerfully today. As an intellectual (and author of the seminal utopian News from Nowhere), his concern with artistic and human values led him to cross what he called the “river of fire” and become a committed socialist—committed not to some theoretical formula but to the day by day struggle of working women and men in Britain and to the evolution of his ideas about art, about work and about how life should be lived.

Many of his ideas accorded none too well with the reforming tendencies dominant in the labour movement, nor with those of “orthodox” Marxism, which has looked elsewhere for inspiration. Both sides have been inclined to venerate Morris rather than to pay attention to what he said.

In this biography, written less than a decade before his groundbreaking The Making of the English Working Class, E.P. Thompson brought his now trademark historical mastery, passion, wit, and essential sympathy. It remains unsurpassed as the definitive work on this remarkable figure, by the major British historian of the 20th century.

 

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Contents

Foreword to the 2011 Edition
Foreword to the 1976 Edition
OxfordCarlyle and Ruskin
Rossetti and the PreRaphaelites
e First Joust with Victorianism
THE YEARS OF CONFLICT
e Poetry of Despair
Love is Enough
e First Two Hundred
e First Propaganda
e Split
Making Socialists
e Last Years of the Socialist League
NECESSITY AND DESIRE
e Manifesto of the Socialist League
William Morris Bruce Glasier and Marxism

Hope and Courage
Action

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About the author (2011)

Edward Palmer Thompson (1924–1993), was an English historian, writer, socialist and peace campaigner. He is probably best known today for his historical work on the British radical movements in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, in particular his seminal work The Making of the English Working Class (1963). Published almost two decades before Howard Zinn’s A People’s History Of The United States, he popularized the concept, and practice, of ‘history from below’. He published influential biographies of William Morris and William Blake and was a prolific journalist, polemicist and essayist.

Peter Linebaugh is a social historian. He's a graduate of the University of Warwick where he became a friend, a colleague, and a comrade of E.P. Thompson. He has taught at Harvard U. and Attica Penitentiary. Currently he teaches at the University of Toledo. He has authored and co-authored numerous books, including The London Hanged: Crime and Civil Society in the Eighteenth Century (1991), with Marcus Rediker The Many-Headed Hydra: Sailors, Slaves, Commoners and the Hidden History of the Revolutionary Atlantic (2001) and The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for All (2008).

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