William Morris and Edward Carpenter: back to the land and the simple life, 1880-1910

Fryman, Jenny (2002) William Morris and Edward Carpenter: back to the land and the simple life, 1880-1910. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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This thesis focuses on the influence of William Morris and Edward Carpenter on aspects of the back-to-the-land and simple-life movements between the years 1880- 1910. Specifically, it seeks to define and explore the convergence and divergence of both writers' return-to-nature ideology, and considers their influence on the development of particular groups, who represented some of the multiplicity of backto- the-land ideas and experiments current during this period. The thesis is divided into three main parts; the intellectual framework for the study is broad, and takes into account the historical context, the cultural significance and the character of the material in each section. The first part of the thesis undertakes an expository evaluation of key texts from Morris's and Carpenter's political journalism, lectures and imaginative writing, examining how both writers developed an appropriate language to convey their social and political ideals. The critical method employed uses detailed textual analysis, identifying and discussing the individual qualities of Morris's and Carpenter's back-to-the-land writing, and reflecting on the differing emphases of their utopian rhetoric. The second part of the research explores the take-up of Morris's and Carpenter's ethos in four diverse and little known late-nineteenthcentury journals, concerned with simple-life issues and a return to the land, namely Seed-time, The New Order, Land and Labor and Land and People. It employs the thinking of Pierre Bourdieu and Mikhail Bakhtin to establish an appropriate balance between critical theory and empirical study. Lastly using a historical and descriptive method the thesis uses archival material to examine the nature and extent of both writers' influence on two Cotswold back-to-the-land experiments - the Whiteway Colony and the Chipping Campden Guild of Handicraft. These provide a particular opportunity to consider and compare the practical outcomes of return-to-the-land and simple-life ideologies. The study extends scholarship in this area by significantly re-appraising the relationship between Morris's and Carpenter's back-to-the-land writing, and reinstating Carpenter as a germinal influence. It also increases our understanding of the values and function of the journals in the study, and establishes an insight into the wider cultural assimilation of both writers' ideals.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Uncontrolled Keywords: William Morris (1834-1896), Edward Carpenter (1844-1929), Socialism, Socialist League, England
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe) > JN101 Great Britain
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Phil Davis
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2016 13:07
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:57
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/3037

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