The William Morris Society US sponsored two sessions at the Modern Language Association Convention held in Seattle, WA, in January 2020.

Our first session, “Re-evaluating the Pre-Raphaelites,” examined how in the past decade a number of exhibitions from Manchester to Moscow have reassessed Pre-Raphaelite art and design, from William Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelite Vision at the Manchester Art Gallery in 2009 to the traveling exhibition Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement at venues through 2021.

Moderated by Anna Wager (Hobart and William Smith Colleges), the panel included:

  • Andrea Wolk Rager (Case Western University): ‘“I seek no dream…but rather the end of dreams’: Exhibiting Edward Burne-Jones”
  • Monica Bowen (Seattle University): “The Radical Roots of William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites”
  • Imogen Hart (University of California, Berkeley): “Race and the Radicals: Victorian Racial theory and the Arts and Crafts movement”
  • Julie Codell (Arizona State University): “Toward a Historiography of Pre-Raphaelite (Post)Modernism and the Future of the Pre-Raphaelite Past”

Our second session, “Ecosocialism and the Late Victorians” (co-sponsored with Association for the Study of Literature and Environment), addressed how the late nineteenth century saw writers, artists, and thinkers such as William Morris help plant the seeds of ecological concerns in socialist politics, leading to innovative approaches to both environmental and socialist ideas. The papers in this session explored the ways (literary, artistic, political) that resultant ecosocialist impulses influenced or grew out of late Victorian culture.

Moderated by Florence Boos (University of Iowa), the panel included:

  • Heidi Renée Aijala (University of Iowa): “Full Steam Ahead? Ecosocialist Thinking in Late-Century Women’s Fiction”
  • Jude Nixon (Salem State University): “‘A pretty never-never land’: Ecosocialism and William Morris’s News from Nowhere
  • Frank Palmeri (University of Miami): “William Morris’s Ecosocialism, Then and Now”