From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
William Morris (March 24, 1834 – October 3, 1896) was an English artist, writer, socialist and activist. He was one of the principal founders of the British arts and crafts movement, best known as a designer of wallpaper and patterned fabrics, a writer of poetry and fiction and a pioneer of the socialist movement in Britain.
His family was wealthy, and he went to school at Marlborough College, but left in 1851 after a student rebellion there. He then went to Exeter College, Oxford after studying for his matriculation to the university. He became influenced by John Ruskin there, and met his life-long friends and collaborators, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb there as well. He also met his wife, Jane Burden, a working-class woman whose pale skin, languid figure, and wavy, abundant dark hair were considered by Morris and his friends the epitome of beauty.
These friends formed an artistic movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They eschewed the tawdry industrial manufacture of decorative arts and architecture and favoured a return to hand-craftsmanship, raising artisans to the status of artists. He espoused the philosophy that art should be affordable, hand-made, and that there should be no hierarchy of artistic mediums.
Morris had two daughters, Jane (called Jenny) and Mary (called May).
- The Hollow Land (1856)
- The Defence of Guenevere, and other Poems (1858)
- The Life and Death of Jason (1867)
- The Earthly Paradise (1868–1870)
- Love is Enough, or The Freeing of Pharamond: A Morality (1872)
- The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of Niblungs (1877)
- Hopes and Fears For Art (1882)
- A Dream of John Ball (1888)
- A Tale of the House of the Wolfings, and All the Kindreds of the Mark Written in Prose and in Verse (1889)
- The Roots of the Mountains (1890)
- Poems By the Way (1891)
- News from Nowhere (or, An Epoch of Rest) (1890)
- The Story of the Glittering Plain (1891)
- The Wood Beyond the World (1894)
- Child Christopher and Goldilind the Fair (1895)
- The Well at the World's End (1896)
- The Water of the Wondrous Isles (1897)
- The Sundering Flood (1897) (published posthumously)
- Grettis Saga: The Story of Grettir the Strong with Eiríkr Magnússon (1869)
- The Saga of Gunnlaug the Worm-tongue and Rafn the Skald with Eiríkr Magnússon (1869)
- Völsung Saga: The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs, with Certain Songs from the Elder Edda with Eiríkr Magnússon (1870) (from the Volsunga saga)
- Three Northern Love Stories, and Other Tales with Eiríkr Magnússon (1875)
- The Odyssey of Homer Done into English Verse (1887)
- The Aeneids of Virgil Done into English (1876)
- Of King Florus and the Fair Jehane (1893)
- The Tale of Beowulf Done out of the Old English Tongue (1895)
- Old French Romances Done into English (1896)