These volumes bring to a close the only comprehensive edition of the surviving correspondence of William Morris (1834-1896), a protean figure who exerted a major influence as poet, craftsman, master printer, and designer. Volumes III and IV, taken together, give in detail the comments and observations that articulate his problematic political and artistic stands and equally problematic position within the aesthetic movement as it developed in the 1890s. Most eloquently voiced also are the complexities of his troubled marriage and his devotion to his epileptic daughter, Jenny, and his other daughter, May. But dominating all these themes, organizing and structuring them, are the Kelmscott Press and the building of Morris's important library of medieval manuscripts and early printed books. The letters record the way in which the Press becomes not only the center of Morris's aesthetic ambitions and achievements but also the site for his closest human relations and for much of his connecting with the makers of early modernism.
The letters in Volumes III and IV are thoroughly annotated, and through texts and notes provide a new assessment of Morris's career. Included also, as appendices to Volume IV, are two important documents: the first, never before published, is F. S. Ellis's Valuation List of Morris's library, made after Morris's death, and the second, never before reprinted, is the text of what was to be Morris's final essay on socialism, published in April 1896.
Originally published in 1996.
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