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Title: The relevance of Morris's socialism
Author: Sumino, Kazuko
ISNI:       0000 0001 3489 6915
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2007
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Since William Morris has earned his reputation as an artist; the seriousness of his socialism is often underestimated. E.P. Thompson re-established the reputation of Morris as a socialist, but he did not totally appreciate Morris's past and the role of art and romanticism in his socialism. Therefore Thompson missed its essential character. This thesis examines Morris's socialism in the round, and argues that Morris's criticism of capitalism is relevant, not only because it provides us with the keys to tackle the crisis the modern global market has brought, but also because it sheds light on the fatal faults of the existing socialist regimes. The essence of Morris's socialism is the emphasis on pleasurable work. Morris claimed work should be enjoyed as art, i.e. the expression of human pleasure in work, and no society would be genuine without abolishing toil and making every work attractive. Through the comparison with Marx and other socialists, this thesis maintains that Morris is practically the only socialist who stressed the importance of the qualitative aspect of work. Most other socialists focused only on the abolition of private property and the reduction of working hours, namely the quantitative aspect of work. The relevance of his socialism also lies in the employment of utopia and imagination. Unlike orthodox Marxists, Morris created the image of future society in ‘News from Nowhere', believing it important to urge workers to have vivid images of their own in order to change society. Morris's utopianism is not an adjunct to Marxism, but the specific area Morris emphasised. His romanticism, 'the capacity to make the past present', enabled him to understand sorrow and joy of ordinary people in the past and the present, and to pursue society where everybody is equal and an artist.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Morris's socialism