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William Morris is perhaps best remembered for his wallpaper, tapestry, and print designs. Yet, he was not only an artist/craftsman, but also a poet, an early environmentalist, a passionate social reformer, and an educationalist who became a socialist of sorts at the age of 50. In an age of ever-increasing specialization Morris was struggling for a new understanding of wholeness in both the arts and cultural thinking and offered - to both his contemporary and present thinkers - ideas about how to live a meaningful life - as an artist, craftsman or worker.
We will examine Morris`ideas of how to combat human alienation in modern industrial society and trace his idiosyncratic relations to his Pre-Raphaelite friends. We will study some of his poetry, his lectures and essays, his Utopia News From Nowhere as well as his home, furniture and graphic designs.
Please buy and read in advance: William Morris, News from Nowhere and Other Writings, ed. Clive Wilmer (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1993). A reader with further material will be provided at the beginning of the summer term.