Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the ideas of William Morris, known in his lifetime for his poetry and then his contribution to the Arts and Crafts movement, and increasingly for his political activism. He felt the world had given in to drudgery and ugliness and he found inspiration in the time before industrialisation, in the medieval life which was about fellowship and association and ways of working which resisted the division of labour and allowed the worker to exercise his or her imagination. Seeing a disconnection between art and society, his solution was revolution which in his view was the only way to reset their relationship.

The image above is from the Strawberry Thief wallpaper design by William Morris.


Ingrid Hanson Lecturer in 18th and 19th Century Literature at the University of Manchester

Marcus Waithe University Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Cambridge and Fellow of Magdalene College


Jane Thomas Professor of Victorian and Early 20th Century Literature at the University of Hull

Producer: Simon Tillotson.