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Selective Bibliography of Writings About William Morris

Compiled by Mark Samuels Lasner and Florence Boos

This is a representative sampling of available material by and about William Morris. We have concentrated on works which are readily found in most academic libraries, in secondhand bookshops, and on the internet. Inclusion in one category does not mean that an item is not relevant to another--Morris was, after all, many-sided and impossible to categorize.

The principal bibliographies are:

  • Gary L. Aho, William Morris; A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1987.
  • H. Buxton Forman, The Books of William Morris Described, London: Frank Hollings, 1897.
  • David and Sheila Latham,  An Annotated Critical Bibliography of William Morris. London: Harvester, 1991.
  • Eugene LeMire, A Bibliography of William Morris, New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2006.
  • Petersen, William S. A Bibliography of the Kelmscott Press, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1984.

Other bibliographies

See also:

Literary and Artistic Works by Morris
(alphabetical by title)

A Book of Verse: A Facsimile of the Manuscript Written in 1870 by William Morris. London: Scolar Press, 1981. Facsimile of calligraphic manuscript of his poems presented by Morris to Georgiana Burne-Jones.

The Collected Letters of William Morris, ed. Norman Kelvin. Princeton UP, 1984–96. 4 vols. (in 5). Essential for any serious work on Morris, with full annotations and--surprisingly for a scholarly edition--well-illustrated.

The Collected Works of William Morris, ed. May Morris. London: Longmans, Green, 1910-14. 24 vols. Contains most of Morris's writings, available in libraries in the original set or in two modern reprints.

The Earthly Paradise, edited Florence S. Boos. New York: Routledge, 1992.

Icelandic Journals, forward Magnus Magnusson and intro. Fiona MacCarthy. London: Mare's Nest, 1986.

The Ideal Book: Essays and Lectures on the Arts of the Book, ed. William S. Peterson. Berkeley: U California P, 1982. Collects all of Morris's writings on printing and the history of books.

A Note by William Morris on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press, enlarged and corrected version ed. by William S. Peterson. New York: Grolier Club/William Morris Society, 1996. Definitive edition of the last Kelmscott Press book--incorporating Morris's "Note" and Cockerell's checklist and history.

Our Country Right or Wrong, ed. Florence Boos. London: William Morris Society, 2008.

The Saga Library. Translated by William Morris and Eiríkr Magnússon 6 vols. London: Bernard Quaritch, 1891–1901.

The Socialist Diary, ed. Florence Boos. Second edition. Nottingham: Five Leaves Press, 2018.

The Tables Turned, ed. Pamela Bracken Wiens. Athens, OH: Ohio UP, 1994. Edition of Morris's socialist play. Published under the auspices of the William Morris Society in the United States.

Unpublished Lectures of William Morris, ed. Eugene LeMire. Detroit: Wayne State UP, 1969.

William Morris, Artist, Writer, Socialist, ed. May Morris. Oxford: Blackwell, 1934. 2 vols. A supplement to the Collected Works.

William Morris by Himself: Designs and Writings, ed. Gillian Naylor. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1988. A handsome large book with excellent illustrations (some of calligraphy and Kelmscott Press books) and a generous sampling of Morris's writings.

William Morris: Journalism, Contributions to Commonweal, 1885–1890, ed. Nicholas Salmon. Bristol: Thoemmes, 1996.

William Morris: Political Writings, Contributions to Justice and Commonweal, 1883–1890, ed. Nicholas Salmon. Bristol: Thoemmes, 1994.

Morris' poetry, prose, selected essays, diaries and translations may be found at the Morris Online Edition. Completed editions thus far include The Life and Death of Jason, The Defence of Guenevere, and The Ordination of Knighthood.

Biographies and Letters

Coote, Stephen. William Morris: His Life and Work. London: Garamond, 1995.

Elletson, Helen. A History of Kelmscott House. London: William Morris Society, 2009.

Henderson, Philip, William Morris, His Life, Work, and Friends. London: Longmans, 1967. Good all-round biography, with emphasis on Morris's private life.

Kelvin, Norman, ed. The Collected Letters of William Morris. Princeton UP, 1984-96. 4 vols. (vol. 2 is in two parts).

Lindsay, Jack. William Morris: His Life and Work. London: Constable, 1975. Engaging biography by a leftist critic, with speculative material on Morris's private life.

MacCarthy, Fiona, William Morris: A Life for Our Time. London: Faber, 1994. Well-written, wide-ranging, and detailed, this is the current definitive biography. Attention is paid to Morris's varied activities in the light of the research of the past 20 years . For a review by Ray Watkinson in the JWMS, click here; by Terry Eagleton, click here.

Mackail, J. W., The Life of William Morris. London: Longmans, Green, 1899. 2 vols. The standard life by Burne-Jones's son-in-law gives a good picture of Morris's friends and milieu.

Marsh, Jan, Jane and May Morris. London: Pandora, 1986. Biography of Morris's wife and daughter, both of whom had an interest in book design and the textile arts.

Marsh, Jan and Frank Sharp, eds. The Collected Letters of Jane Morris. London: Boydell and Brewer, 2012.

Parkins, Wendy. Jane Morris: The Burden of History. Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP, 2013.

Pinckney, Tony. William Morris in Oxford: The Campaigning Years, 1879-1895. Illuminati Books, 2007.

Robertson, Michael. The Last Utopians. Princeton: Princeton UP, 2017.

Salmon, Nicholas with Derek Baker. A William Morris Chronology. Bristol: Thoemmes, 1996.

Thompson, E. P., William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1955. An essential study by a social historian which places Morris in his rightful position as a founder of the socialist/communist movement in Britain. A revised reprint (1977) adds a postscript dealing with changes in socialist thought since 1955.

Critical Studies of Morris's Writings

Baissus, Jean-Marie. William Morris, Poete. (3 tom.) Lille: Universite de Lille, 1980.

Boos, Florence. The Design of William Morris' The Earthly Paradise. Nyack, New York: Mellen Press, 1990.

Boos, Florence and Carole Silvers, eds., Socialism and the Literary Artistry of William Morris. Columbia: U Missouri Press, 1990. Scholarly essays on the interconnections between Morris's writings and his politics, published under the auspices of the William Morris Society in the United States.

Calhoun, Blue. The Pastoral Vision of William Morris: The Earthly Paradise. Athens: U Georgia Press, 1975.

Evans, B. Ifor. William Morris and His Poetry. London: G. G. Harrup and Co., 1925.

Faulkner, Peter. Against the Age: An Introduction to William Morris. London: Harper Collins, 1980. An excellent short work on Morris.

Faulkner, Peter. William Morris: The Critical Heritage. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973. Reviews by Morris's contemporaries with helpful introductions.

Felce, Ian. William Morris and the Icelandic Sagas. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2018.

Ford, George. Keats and the Victorians: A Study of His Influence and Rise to Fame, 1821–1895. New Haven: Yale UP, 1945. "William Morris and His Masters," 149-63.

Frye, Northrop. "The Meeting of Past and Future in William Morris." Studies in Romanticism 21 (1982): 303–18.

Gallasch, Linda. The Use of Compounds and Archaic Diction in the Works of William Morris. Berne: Peter Lang, 1979.

Gardner, Delbert. An "Idle Singer'"and His Audience: A Study of William Morris' Poetic Reputation in England, 1858–1900. The Hague: Mouton, 1975.

Grennan, Margaret R. William Morris: Medievalist and Revolutionary. New York: King's Crown Press, 1945.

Hanson, Ingrid. William Morris and the Uses of Violence, 1856-1890. London: Anthem, 2013.

Helsinger, Elizabeth. Poetry and the Pre-Raphaelite Arts: William Morris and Dante G. Rossetti. New Haven: Yale UP, 2008.

Hodgson, Amanda. The Romances of William Morris. Cambridge UP, 1987.

Holland, Owen. William Morris’s Utopianism: Propaganda, Politics, and Prefiguration. London: Palgrave, 2017

Hough, Graham. The Last Romantics. London: Duckworth, 1947. Rpt. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1961. "William Morris," 83–133.

Kermode, Helen Sybil. "The Classical Sources of Morris's Life and Death of Jason." Primitiae: Essays in English Literature by Students of the University of Liverpool. Liverpool and London, 1912, 158–82. http://morrisedition.lib.uiowa.edu/jasonsuppbibliokermode.html.

Kirchhoff, Frederick. William Morris. Boston: Twayne, 1979.

Kirchhoff, Frederick. William Morris: The Construction of a Male Self, 1856-72. Athens: Ohio UP, 1990.

Kocmanova, Jessie. "The Poetic Maturing of William Morris: From 'The Earthy Paradise' to 'The Pilgrims of Hope.'" Brno Studies in English. Vol. 5 Prague: Statni Pedagogiake Nakladatelstri. Rpt. Folcroft,PA: Folcroft Library Editions, 1970.

Latham, David, ed. Writing on the Image. U Toronto Press, 2007.

LeMire, Eugene. A Bibliography of William Morris. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2006.

Lewis, C. S. "William Morris." Rehabilitations and Other Essays. London: Oxford UP, 1939. 37–55.

Miller, Elizabeth Carolyn. Slow Print: Literary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013.

Naylor, Gillian. William Morris by Himself: Designs and Writings. New York: New York Graphic Society, 1988.

Oberg, Charlotte. The Pagan Prophet: William Morris. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978.

Omerod James. The Poetry of William Morris. Folcroft, PA: Folcroft, 1938.

Saintsbury, George. From Blake to Mr. Swinburne. London: Macmillan, 1910. Vol. 3 of A Historical Manual of English Prosody. 3 vols. Book XI, Chapter 1, "The Pre-Raphaelite School: William Morris." Arguably the best discussion of Morris's metrics.

Schultz, Edvig. Saggi, Saghe e Utopie Nell 'Opera di William Morris. Napoli: Liguori Ediore, 1987.

Scott, Dixon. Men of Letters. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1916. 257-306.

Silver, Carole. The Romance of William Morris. Athens: Ohio UP, 1982.

Skoblow, Jeffrey. Paradise Dislocated: Morris, Politics, Art. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

Stevenson, Lionel. The Pre-Raphaelite Poets. Chapel Hill: U North Carolina Press, 1972. "William Morris," 123–83.

Swannell, J. N. William Morris and Old Norse Literature: A Lecture Given on 18 December 1958. London: William Morris Society, 1961.

Symons, Arthur. "William Morris." Studies in Two Literatures. London: Leonard Sithers, 189.

Tinker, Chauncy B. "William Morris as Poet." Essays in Retrospect: Collected Articles and Addresses. New Haven: Yale UP, 1948. 62-74.

Tompkins, J. M. S. William Morris: An Approach to the Poetry. London: Cecil Woolf, 1984.

Vaninskaya, Anna. William Morris and the Idea of Community: Romance, History and Propaganda, 1880-1914. Edinburgh: Einburgh University Press, 2010.

Waithe, Marcus. William Morris's Utopia of Strangers: Medievalism and the Idea of Hospitality. Woodbridge, Suffolk: Boydell and Brewer, 2006.

For articles on specific literary works, see under supplementary material for each title on the Morris Online Edition.

Decorative Arts

Arscott, Caroline. William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings. New Haven: Yale UP, 2008.

Banham, Joanne and Jennfer Harris, ed. William Morris and the Middle Ages: A Collection of Essays, together with a Catalogue of Works exhibited at the Whitworth Art Gallery, 28 September-8 December 1984. Manchester: Whitworth Art Gallery, 1984. Essays dealing with Morris's relationship with medieval art and ideas, well-illustrated.

Harvey, Charles and Jon Press, William Morris: Design and Enterprise in Victorian England. Manchester, 1991. Account and economic analysis of Morris and Co., and of Morris's work as a businessman as well as artist. Includes much new information.

Fairclough, Oliver and Emmeline Leary, Textiles by William Morris and Morris & Co., 1861–1940, introduction by Barbara Morris. London, 1981. Iillustrated guide to Morris textiles.

Lochnan, Katharine A., Douglas E. Schoenherr and Carole Silver, eds. The Earthly Paradise: Arts and Crafts by William Morris and his Circle from Canadian Collections. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 1993. Excellent essays and catalogue notes on the largest Morris exhibition held in Canada thus far; covers several aspects of Morris work.

Menz, Christopher. Morris and Co. Melbourne: Art Gallery of South Australia, 2002. Exhibition catalogue.

Parry, Linda, ed. William Morris. London: Victoria and Albert Museum, 1996. This well-illustrated volume includes a catalogue of the Centenary Exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum (over 500 items) and 20 essays by Morris scholars.

Parry, Linda. William Morris Textiles. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1983. Illustrated guide to Morris textiles.

Sewter, A. C.,The Stained Glass of William Morris And His Circle. London: Yale UP, 1975. 2 vols. Catalogue and introductory volume (illustrated) describing Morris and Co.'s stained glass. A surprising number are in the United States and in Commonwealth countries.

Stansky, Peter, Redesigning the World: William Morris, the 1880s, and the Arts and Crafts. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1985. Study of Morris's influence on the Arts and Crafts movement.

Thompson, Paul. The Work of William Morris. Oxford UP, 1991. 3rd ed. General survey with empahsis on the decorative arts.

William Morris and Kelmscott. London, 1981. Catalogue of the collection at Kelmscott Manor, Morris's country house. Includes essays on Morris's life, politics, and work in various fields.

Vallance, Aymer, The Art of William Morris. London, 1899. Contemporary account of Morris's work in the decorative arts.

Waggoner, Diane, ed. The Beauty of Life: William Morris and the Art of Design. London: Thames and Hudson, 2003.

Watkinson, Ray, William Morris as Designer. London, 1967. Deals with Morris's role as part of a larger design movement, with Morris's own works in all media, and with his theories of art and design.

Wilhide, Elizabeth. William Morris: Decor and Design. New York, 1991. Aimed at the "decorating" market, this nonetheless includes accurate information on Morris and lists sources of Morris products.


Morris and the Book Arts

Boos, Florence. "The Critique of the Empty Page: Kelsmcott Press and William Morris's Theories of Book Design." William Morris and Everyday Life, ed. Wendy Parkins, Cambridge: Cambridge Scholar Press, 2010, 65-85.

Buxton Forman, H., The Books of William Morris Described. London: Frank Hollings, 1897 [reprinted 1976]. Formerly the standard bibliography of Morris's books despite the inclusion of forgeries and piracies perpetrated by the author and his friend Thomas J. Wise; for a more current bibliography, see Eugene Le Mire, The Bibliography of William Morris, below.

Cockerell, Sydney C., "History of the Kelmscott Press" and "An Annotated List of the Books Printed at the Kelmscott Press," in William Morris, A Note on His Aims in Founding the Kelmscott Press. [Kelmscott Press, 1898]].

Coupe, Robert L. M., Illustrated Editions of the Works of William Morris in English: A Descriptive Bibliography. New Castle, DE: Oak Knoll Press, 2002. Second edition, 2011.

Dunlap, Joseph R., The Book That Never Was. New York, 1971. Account of the projected illustrated edition of Morris's The Earthly Paradise, which partially came to fruition a century later in the Rampant Lion Press version of The Story of Cupid and Psyche produced in 1974.

LeMire, Eugene D. A Bibliography of William Morris. London: The British Library; Newark, Delaware: Oak Knoll Press, 2006.

Life, Alan, "Illustration of Morris's 'Ideal Book,'" and Joseph R. Dunlap, "Morris and the Book Arts Before the Kelmscott Press," Victorian Poetry (1975). This was a special issue of the journal devoted to Morris, illustrated.

Peterson, William S., A Bibliography of the Kelmscott Press. Oxford UP, 1984. Definitive, detailed information on the Kelmscott Press: includes provenance information and notes on particular copies and related materials.

Peterson, William S., The Kelmscott Press: A History of William Morris's Typographical Adventure. Oxford UP, 1991. By far the best book on the subject, offering not only a detailed history of the Press but analysis of Morris's aesthetic seen in the context of Victorian printing. An essential work, superseding most previous writings on the subject.

Peterson, William S., ed. The Kelmscott Press Golden Legend: A Documentary History of its Production, Together with a Leaf from the Kelmscott Edition. [College Park], 1990. Leaf book with introduction and facsimiles of related documents. For an on-line version of the book The Kelmscott Press Golden Legend.

William Morris And the Art of the Book, ed. Charles Ryskamp. New York: Oxford UP, 1976. Catalogue of the exhibition held at the Pierpont Morgan Library in 1976. With essays: "William Morris: Book Collector" by Paul Needham; "William Morris: Calligrapher" by Joseph Dunlap; and "William Morris: Typographer" by John Dreyfus. Detailed and illustrated, an essential source.

Samuels Lasner, Mark, William Morris: The Collector as Creator. New York: Grolier Club, 1996. Checklist of the exhibition held at the Grolier Club, 1996–97, listing books owned and read by Morris and examples of Morris's own works in literature, politics, and the book arts.

Sparling, Henry Halliday,The Kelmscott Press and William Morris, Master Craftsman. London, 1924. Early history of the Kelmscott Press, incorporating Cockerell's checklist. Now superseded by Peterson's History.

Thompson, Susan Otis, American Book Design and William Morris. New York, 1977; reprinted Newark, DE, 1996. Pioneering study of the influence of Morris's Kelmscott Press on American publishers and printers.

The Typographical Adventure of William Morris. [London: William Morris Society, 1957]. Catalogue of a traveling exhibition organized by the William Morris Society in 1957. Places Morris's work in context of other printers and designers from 1850 to 1940.

Walsdorf, John, William Morris in Private Press And Limited Editions. Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1983. Useful bibliographical catalogue of books by and about Morris issued 1890-1982 in limited or fine editions.

Morris's Political and Social Thought

Anderson, Perry. "Utopias," in Arguments within English Marxism. London: New Left Books, 1980.

Beaumont, Matthew. The Spectre of Utopia: Utopia and Science Fiction at the End of the Century. London: Peter Lang, 2012.

Boos, Florence. "An Aesthetic Eco-communist: Morris the Red and Morris the Green," in William Morris: Centenary Essays, eds. Peter Faulkner and Peter Preston. University of Exeter Press, 1999.

Boos, Florence, introduction to William Morris's Socialist Diary. http://www.marxists.org/archive/morris/works/1887/diary/index.htm; The Socialist Diary. Second edition. Nottingham: Five Leaves Press, 2018.

Boos, Florence. "News from Nowhere and 'Garden Cities': Morris's Utopia and Nineteenth-Century Town Design." http://www.morrissociety.org/agregation/boos.html

Brinton, Crane. Morris in English Political Thought in the Nineteenth Century. London: Ernest Benn, 1949.

Cole, G. D. H., William Morris as a Socialist. London: William Morris Society, 1960.

Coleman, Stephen and Paddy O'Sullivan eds. William Morris and News from Nowhere: A Vision for Our Time. Bideford, Devon: Green Books, 1990.

Donovan, Andrea. William Morris and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. New York: Routledge, 2008.

Gadoin, Isabele. News from Nowhere: William Morris. Paris: Ellipses, 2004. [a collection of essays]

Glasier, J. Bruce. William Morris and the Early Days of the Socialist Movement. London: Longmans, Green, 1921.

Goode, John. "William Morris and the Dream of Revolution." In Literature and Politics of the Nineteenth Century, ed. John Lucas. London: Methuen, 1971.

Gould, Peter C. Early Green Politics: Back to Nature, Back to the Land, and Socialism in Britain 1880-1900. Brighton, Sussex: Harvester,1988.

Grennan, Magaret R. William Morris: Medievalist and Revolutionary. New York: King's Crown Press, 1945.

Holland, Owen. William Morris’s Utopianism: Propaganda, Politics, and Prefiguration. London: Palgrave, 2017

Hulse, James. Revolutionaries in London: A Study of Five Unorthodox Socialists. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.

Kinna, Ruth. William Morris. The Art of Socialism. Cardiff: U Wales Press, 2000.

Laurent, Beatrice. William Morris: News from Nowhere. Nantes: Editions du Temps, 2004.

Levitas, Ruth. The Concept of Utopia. Syracuse UP, 1990.

Macdonald, Bradley J. William Morris and the Aesthetic Constitution of Politics. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Press, 1999.

Meier, Paul. William Morris: The Marxist Dreamer. Translated by Frank Gubb. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Harvester Press, 1978.

Morton, A. L. introduction to The Political Writings of William Morris. New York: International Press, 1973.

Morton, A. L., introduction to Three Works by William Morris. New York: International Press, 1973.

Payne, John. Journey Up the Thames: William Morris and Modern England. Nottingham: Five Leaves Publications, 2000.

Pepper, David. Eco-socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice. London: Routledge, 1993.

Salmon, Nicholas, introduction to William Morris: Journalism, Contributions to Commonweal, 1885-1890. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1996.

Salmon, Nicholas, introduction to William Morris: Political Writings, Contributions to Justice and Commonweal 1883–1890. Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1994.

Silver, Carole. "Eden and Apocalypse: William Morris's Marxist Vision in the 1880's." University of Hartford Studies in Literature 13 (1981).

Thompson, E. P. William Morris: Romantic to Revolutionary. 2nd ed. New York: Pantheon, 1978. With an afterward by the author noting changes in his opinions in the 23 years since the first edition.

Thompson, Paul. The Work of William Morris. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1991.

Thompson, Paul. Why William Morris Matters Today: Human Creativity and the Future World Environment. London: William Morris Society, 1991.

von Helmhotz-Phelan, Anna A. The Social Philosophy of William Morris. Durham: Duke University Press 1927.

Williams, Raymond. "Socialism and Ecology," in Robin Gable, ed., Resources of Hope: Culture: Democracy, Socialism. London: Verso, 1989.