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William Morris and anti-parliamentarism

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This paper presents a different interpretation for Morris's change of mind on the issue of participation in 1890, and offers a new interpretation of his utopian writings in the light of this examination. In the first part it examines Morris's relationship to anarchism and Marxism and his reasons for adopting an anti-parliamentary stance in the period 1884 to 1890. It accepts the Marxist interpretation that Morris was never an anarchist but against it argues that he was serious in his hostility to parliamentary action. The second part looks at Morris's reasons for rejecting anti-parliamentarism after 1890. It accepts that Morris altered his position on parliamentary participation but explains it as a product of the disappointment of his revolutionary hopes and his commitment to an idea of political education. The final section looks at the relationship between Morris's political strategy and his utopian writings and argues that his utopianism was defined not against political reality, but as a response to it.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Loughborough University of Technology.

Publication date: 1994-01-01

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