William Morris is well recognized as an eclectic and energetic contributor to the Victorian artistic and literary scene. Readers of Morris’s languid poetic narratives and archaic prose romances will be intrigued by this editions of his single socialist play, a lively and rich experiment in political prose that offers an unusual example of Morris’s boisterous humor and satirical style.
Written during the fall of 1887 and subsequently performed until at least the summer of 1888, Morris’s The Tables Turned; or Nupkins Awakened is an interesting early experiment in agit-prop theater. Readers of this new edition will undoubtedly conclude that the interlude is not at all what they would expect of the better known sensibilities of William Morris. The parody, and overall realistic ambiance of the play seem far removed from Morris’s medievalesque temper. Morris’s “morality play” in satirical dress reveals how he utilized a relatively realistic medium for expressing both his frustration with and his vision for British socialism during the later part of the nineteenth century.
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