The Romance of William Morris traces the intellectual, emotional, and literary development of Morris, a representative Victorian, as he explores the classic themes of love, fate, and death -- chiefly through the genre of romance. Professor Silver points out the ways in which Morris’s personal and social vision, interwoven in his literary work, contributes to his art, design, and social theory, as well as to some of the major intellectual and artistic movements of his time.
Exploding the myth of Morris’s escapism and demonstrating his importance as a scholar, historian, and mythmaker, the book studies Morris’s uses of the past and shows how he transformed classical and medieval materials and institutions to viable positive and negative models for his own culture. For the intellectual and social historian, the book clarifies the fact that Morris was a paradigm for the Victorian imagination. For the literary historian, it reveals how Morris records in literature his movement from an idealized view of romantic love to an obsession with it, his disillusionment with eros and his final attainment of a balanced view of passion.
Carole Silver is a professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University in New York.
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