William Morris's Utopia of Strangers: Victorian Medievalism and the Ideal of Hospitality (English Association Studies)

By Marcus Waithe

It's as a rule argued that William Morris's idea of the great society is uniquely tolerant - a declare which this booklet exams, asking even if Victorian medievalism and the linked perfect of hospitality provided Morris the assets to improve a brand new perception of utopia, characterised via openness instead of classical exclusivity. This valuable subject matter is addressed throughout quite a number creative and highbrow contexts, from Victorian neo-feudalism to socialism and the humanities and Crafts flow, and drawing from paintings in literature, structure, anthropology, political thought, legislation, artwork heritage and translation. including an research of the roots and legacy of Morris's paintings, the e-book deals an in depth survey of his many initiatives. Dr MARCUS WAITHE lectures in Victorian Literature on the collage of Sheffield.

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Even this day, its importance is just too frequently assessed exclusively with regards to standards of architectural originality, standards that didn't stop to be utilized while Sir Hugh Casson,8 Mark Girouard9 and Paul Thompson10 started to problem Nikolaus Pevsner’s view that the house’s layout was once revolutionary,11 that it represented a germ or resource of the trendy stream. within the wake of this genuine corrective, critics were sluggish in substituting replacement evaluative thoughts for the outdated emphasis on originality. consequently, the development continues to be occasionally disregarded basically since it is architecturally spinoff. Fiona MacCarthy, in her fresh biography of Morris, is going extra than so much in extending the dialogue past those issues. Describing pink condominium as ‘a deeply symbolic building’, she poeticizes Morris’s fee in a fashion that effectively restores the building’s integrity. 12 She emphasizes its ‘monastic caliber’ and its ‘apartness’, arguing that ‘Red home is symbolic as an act of separation, the retreat from and defiance of the world’. This, in itself, is not anything new, yet MacCarthy complicates her account with the statement that ‘it is 7 Fiona MacCarthy writes that the door to pink home is ‘set in a deep porch, giving a feeling of enormous welcome’ (caption III to crimson apartment illustrations, William Morris: A lifestyles for Our Time (London: Faber and Faber, 1994)). those ‘architectural surroundings’, she provides, ‘established the younger Morris in his character of the genial host’. In her biography of Philip Webb, Sheila Kirk describes pink residence as ‘warm and alluring at the open air, casual and spacious inside’ (p. 35), Philip Webb: Pioneer of Arts & Crafts structure (Chichester, West Sussex: Wiley-Academy, 2005). eight Sir Hugh Casson, ‘Red residence: the house of William Morris’, The Listener, 1 October 1953, pp. 536–7 (p. 536). nine Mark Girouard, ‘Red apartment, Bexleyheath, Kent’, nation existence, sixteen June 1960, pp. 1382–5 (p. 1383). 10 Paul Thompson, The paintings of William Morris (London: Heinemann, 1967), p. thirteen. eleven In Pioneers of the trendy circulation: From William Morris to Walter Gropius (London: Faber and Faber, 1936), Pevsner offered pink condo as a landmark within the improvement of contemporary structure; he restated his case within the resources of contemporary structure and layout (London: Thames and Hudson, 1968), arguing that crimson residence was once ‘an exception in its personal day and extra prophetic of the arriving 20th century than whatever within the box of family layout in any nation for thirty future years’ (p. 23); Pevsner’s perspectives accord with Lawrence Weaver’s previous statement that ‘every brick of it [Red condominium] is a observe within the background of recent architecture’, Small nation homes of To-Day (Woodbridge, Suffolk: Baron Publishing, 1983), p. a hundred and eighty; and with Hermann Muthesius’s comparable identity of the development as an immense turning aspect, The English residence, trans. by means of Janet Seligman (London: Crosby Lockwood Staples, 1979), p. 17. 12 MacCarthy, William Morris, p. 156. 35 William Morris’s Utopia of Strangers additionally where the knights trip out from’, ‘the departure aspect for the campaign opposed to the age’.

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