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William Morris: A Life for Our Time Paperback – 6 Nov 2003


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Paperback, 6 Nov 2003
£17.00 £3.18


Product details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; New Ed edition (6 Nov 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571174957
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571174959
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 4.5 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 922,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

William Morris: A Life for Our Time by Fiona MacCarthy is the magisterial biography of one of the great figures of Victorian arts and crafts, from one of our greatest popular historians.

About the Author

Fiona MacCarthy established herself as one of the leading writers of biography in Britain with her widely acclaimed book Eric Gill, published in 1989. Byron: Life and Legend was described by A. N. Wilson as 'a flawless triumph' and William Morris, described by A. S. Byatt as 'large, delicious and intelligent, full of shining detail', won the Wolfson History Prize and the Writers' Guild Non-Fiction Award. Fiona MacCarthy received the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for biography for The Last Pre-Raphaelite, and was awarded the OBE for services to literature in 2009.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Alan Raymond on 9 Oct 2003
Format: Paperback
Fiona MacCarthy has excelled herself with this biography of William Morris. You could hardly ask for a greater wealth of material; clearly her research has been painstaking. But over and above the mere technicalities of being accurate and chronological, Fiona has created a very enjoyable read which quickly gets you very involved with the subject's often extremely complex life. The detail is prodigious, but never amounts to mere padding; on the contrary, it gives one an intimate picture of a passionate, industrious, inventive and vulnerable man whose numerous interests and enthusiasms invariably left him with too few hours in each day. If you thought you knew Morris, think again - there was so much more to the man than most would have surmised. I found the writing on his Icelandic preoccupations and his poetry particularly interesting, but there's social and sexual politics aplenty for those in need of them. Congratulations Fiona on an excellent book, one that I cannot imagine ever being eclipsed. A very worthwhile purchase.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By loppy on 15 Jun 2011
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end, even though I thought I was only interested in certain aspects of Morris' life. The comprehensive but readable coverage sets his achievements into the context of his life and times, and his personality is sympathetically portrayed, including in relationship to his wife and the developments in their marriage.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By KAW on 30 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
I really admired the amount of work that had obviously gone into this biography. I really enjoyed the chapters on Morris's early life, but there was almost too much detail in some areas. I wanted to know more about his family, the lives of his brothers and sisters and his relationship with his mother, but I skipped over some of the details of his travels. I think that this is probably due to my own personal interests I like to hear more about people than places.
His socialist activities have been neglected by other biographers and it was interesting to read more about them, but for me there was more than I needed to hear about his politics. I always get cross when biographers wonder about something and then admit that there is no evidence one way or the other. There isn't much of that in this book, but it does creep in especially when the author speculates about Morris's marital relations, his attitude to his impending marriage and his honeymoon. The worst example I felt was when the author talks about a women quite unrelated to the story in hand, Molly the grandaughter of one of Morris's clients who apparently talks in her diary about "nights of wonderful love" and then refers to Morris's wife Janey: "Wonderful for Molly. But how had it been for Janey? It is impossible to say."(p188) If it is impossible to say why say anything? If need be why not say what the speculation of their contemporaries and later writers was and leave it at that?
All in all I found this well written, very well researched, but a bit heavy going.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mr. William J. Sterling on 16 Jan 2012
Format: Paperback
As with her other biographies, Fiona MacCarthy researches her subject thoroughly and exhaustively. She writes, as always, in an elegant and literate style. She is a joy to read and here she shows such evident enthusiasm for that
colourful Pre-Raphaelite artist, William Morris, and his extraordinary artistic collaboration and lifelong friendship with Edward Burne-Jones.

She has also written a highly praised biography of Burne-Jones, thus pulling off a triumphant duo of works on two remarkable Pre-Raphaelite artists. Now she should tackle Dante Gabriel Rossetti. I would be fascinated to see what she makes of that maverick Pre-Raphaelite.
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