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The Last Romances of William Morris


Phillippa Bennett

William Morris’s last romances are strikingly original stories written in his final years, but they remain relatively neglected in both Morris studies and nineteenth-century literary studies. This book provides a full-length critical account of these works and their essential role in promoting the continuing importance of Morris’s ideas.
Approaching these romances through the concept of wonder, this book provides a new way of understanding their relevance to his writings on art and architecture, nature and the environment, and politics and Socialism. It establishes the integral connection between the romances and Morris’s diverse cultural, social and political interests and activities, suggesting ways in which we might understand these tales as a culmination of Morris’s thought and practice. Through a comprehensive analysis of these remarkable narratives, this book makes a significant contribution to both work on William Morris and to nineteenth-century studies more generally.
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Cockerell, Sydney Carlyle, Diaries 1886–96, British Library, The Cockerell Papers, Add. MSS 52623–33.

Morris, William, Diaries 1893, 1895, 1896, British Library, William Morris Papers (The Robert Steele Gift – Supplementary Volumes), Add. MSS 45409–11.

Works by William Morris

The majority of Morris’s prose and poetry is included in the following collections and these are used as primary sources of reference throughout the book:

Morris, May, ed., The Collected Works of William Morris, 24 vols (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1910–15).

—— William Morris: Artist, Writer, Socialist, 2 vols (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1936).


‘The Development of Modern Society’, Commonweal, serialized vol. 6, nos. 236–40 (19 July-16 August 1890).

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