The Romance of William Morris traces the intellectual, emotional, and literary development of Morris, a representative Victorian, as he explores the classic themes of love, fate, and death -- chiefly through the genre of romance. Professor Silver points out the ways in which Morris’s personal and social vision, interwoven in his literary work, contributes to his art, design, and social theory, as well as to some of the major intellectual and artistic movements of his time.
Exploding the myth of Morris’s escapism and demonstrating his importance as a scholar, historian, and mythmaker, the book studies Morris’s uses of the past and shows how he transformed classical and medieval materials and institutions to viable positive and negative models for his own culture. For the intellectual and social historian, the book clarifies the fact that Morris was a paradigm for the Victorian imagination. For the literary historian, it reveals how Morris records in literature his movement from an idealized view of romantic love to an obsession with it, his disillusionment with eros and his final attainment of a balanced view of passion.
Carole Silver is a professor of English at Stern College of Yeshiva University in New York.
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The subject of renewed interest among literary and cultural scholars, Vernon Lee wrote more than forty books, in a broad range of genres, including fiction, history, aesthetics, and travel literature. Early on, Lee established her reputation as a public critic whose unconventional viewpoints stood out among those of her contemporaries.
Music was at once one of the most idealized and one of the most contested art forms of the Victorian period. Yet this vitally important nineteenth-century cultural form has been studied by literary critics mainly as a system of thematic motifs. Angelic Airs, Subversive Songs positions music as a charged site of cultural struggle, promoted concurrently as a transcendent corrective to social ills and as a subversive cause of those ills.
These essays address a broad variety of issues faced by editors, textual critics, and others who are interested in the writing and revision processes involved in the development of literary texts.