Tuesday, 9 December 2014
“and if others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream”
News from Nowhere; or, An Epoch of Rest. Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance
Hammersmith, England: The Kelmscott Press, 1892
Originally published 1890, serialised in Commonweal
Jan-Oct. Written week by week.
The main character is a self-portrait.
The setting is Hammersmith, London and Oxford with Kelmscott House and Manor featuring.
In the serialised version the revolution has taken place in 1910, in 1952 in the published work.
Art and Labour 1879: Morris felt there was a “sickness of the arts” caused by the present arrangement of the way in which labour and art were organised. The transformation from the Middle Ages to the commercial era led to the deterioration of art which henceforth depended upon the profit motive. Art became an elitist activity, made by a few to be enjoyed by the leisured wealthy. The ordinary worker has become a “mere machine” within the system of the division of labour. As things stood art at present only offered occasional relief to the worker once his daily work was done.
“I know that the cause for which I specially work is doomed to fail, at least in seeming; I mean that art must go under…….am I doing nothing but make believe then, something like Louis XVI’s clock-making?”(letter to Georgiana B-J, 1882)
Morris, W., Wilmer, C., 1993. News from Nowhere and Other Writings, New Ed edition. ed. Penguin Classics.
William Morris Gallery