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William Morris

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss some of the many aspects of William Morris: his activism, poetry and prose and his ideas on arts, crafts and work in an industrial world.

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas of William Morris, known in his lifetime for his poetry and then his contribution to the Arts and Crafts movement, and increasingly for his political activism. He felt the world had given in to drudgery and ugliness and he found inspiration in the time before industrialisation, in the medieval life which was about fellowship and association and ways of working which resisted the division of labour and allowed the worker to exercise his or her imagination. Seeing a disconnection between art and society, his solution was revolution which in his view was the only way to reset their relationship.

The image above is from the Strawberry Thief wallpaper design by William Morris.


Ingrid Hanson
Lecturer in 18th and 19th Century Literature at the University of Manchester

Marcus Waithe
University Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Magdalene College


Jane Thomas
Professor of Victorian and Early 20th Century Literature at the University of Hull

Producer: Simon Tillotson.

Available now

53 minutes

Last on

Thu 5 Jul 2018 21:30


Ingrid Hanson at the University of Manchester

Jane Thomas at the University of Hull

Marcus Waithe at the University of Cambridge

William Morris Society

William Morris Archive

William Morris Gallery

‘Creating a Utopian Future: William Morris’s News from Nowhere’ by Marcus Waithe - British Library: Discovering Literature: Romantics and Victorians 

‘The “old house by the Thames” that inspired William Morris’ by Marcus Waithe – Apollo, September 2016

‘William Morris Unbound’ by Tony Pinkney

William Morris – Wikipedia



Caroline Arscott, William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings (Yale University Press, 2008)

Phillippa Bennett and Rosie Miles (eds.), William Morris in the Twenty-First Century (Peter Lang, 2010)

Mark Bevir, The Making of British Socialism (Princeton University Press, 2011)

Stephen Coleman and Paddy O'Sullivan (eds.), William Morris and News from Nowhere: A Vision for Our Time (Green Books, 1990)

Stephen Coote, William Morris: His Life and Work (first published 1995; Third Millennium Press Ltd, 2018)

Peter Faulkner, Against the Age: An Introduction to William Morris (first published 1980; Routledge, 2012)

Peter Faulkner and Peter Preston (eds.), William Morris: Centenary Essays (University of Exeter Press, 1999)

Ian Felce, William Morris and the Icelandic Sagas (D. S. Brewer, 2018)

Ingrid Hanson, William Morris and the Uses of Violence, 1856-1890 (Anthem, 2013)

Owen Holland, William Morris’s Utopianism: Propaganda, Politics and Prefiguration (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018)

Ruth Levitas, The Concept of Utopia (Peter Lang, 2011)

Fiona MacCarthy, William Morris: A Life for Our Time (Faber and Faber, 1994)

William Morris (ed. May Morris), The Collected Works of William Morris, 24 vols (first published 1910-15; Cambridge University Press, 2012)

William Morris (ed. Nicholas Salmon), Political Writings: Contributions to Justice and Commonweal, 1883-1890 (Thoemmes, 1994)

Linda Parry (ed.), William Morris (Philip Wilson and the V & A, 1996)

Linda Parry, William Morris: Textiles (V&A Publishing, 2013)

Tony Pinkney (ed.), We Met Morris: Interviews with William Morris, 1885-96 (Spire, 2005)

Peter Raby and Kerry Powell (eds.), Oscar Wilde in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2013), especially ‘William Morris and the House Beautiful’ by Marcus Waithe

Peter Stansky, Redesigning the World: William Morris, the 1880s, and the Arts and Crafts (first published 1985; Premier Book Marketing Ltd, 1996)

Peter Stansky, From William Morris to Sergeant Pepper: Studies in the Radical Domestic (Society for the Promotion of Science and Scholarship, 1999)

E. P. Thompson, William Morris, Romantic to Revolutionary (Merlin Press, 1977)

Pamela Todd, William Morris and the Arts & Crafts Home (Thames & Hudson, 2012)

Anna Vaninskaya, William Morris and the Idea of Community: Romance, History and Propaganda, 1880-1914 (Edinburgh University Press, 2010)

Marcus Waithe, William Morris’s Utopia of Strangers: Victorian Medievalism and the Ideal of Hospitality (D. S. Brewer, 2006)



Role Contributor
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Interviewed Guest Ingrid Hanson
Interviewed Guest Marcus Waithe
Interviewed Guest Jane Thomas
Producer Simon Tillotson


  • Thu 5 Jul 2018 09:00
  • Thu 5 Jul 2018 21:30

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