William Morris was the most prominent artist and writer to embrace the new socialist movement of the 1880s. As the leader of one of Britain’s two major socialist organisations from 1885 to 1890, his personal example and dedication inspired and encouraged members of every faction of the left.
The Socialist Diary of 1887, written at the midpoint of his period of most vigorous political activity, remains one of the most interesting accounts of his activities. Its brevity and bluntness render it an accessible introduction to Morris’s socialist efforts, as he records grim economic conditions, the hostility of the newspapers and police, internal socialist debates, and practical obstacles to his efforts at propaganda. Finally, the Diary documents some of the movement’s many strengths – its genuine intellectual variety, cooperation under stress, and sense of excitement and anticipation.
This new edition contains updated annotations and expanded biographical accounts of persons mentioned in the Diary.
Florence S. Boos is a professor of English at the University of Iowa. She is the general editor of the William Morris Archive, and the author/editor of several books on Morris, most recently History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris (2015) and editions of his Earthly Paradise and Our Country Right or Wrong. She has also published Working-Class Women Poets of Victorian Britain: An Anthology and Memoirs of Victorian Working-Class Women: The Hard Way Up (2017).
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