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News from Nowhere; Or, an Epoch of Rest: Being Some Chapters from a Utopian Romance

3.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  840 Ratings  ·  75 Reviews
William Morris (1834-1896) 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. Morris and his friends formed an artistic movement, the Pre-Raphaelite ...more
Paperback, 202 pages
Published September 11th 2007 by Dodo Press (first published January 11th 1890)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,353)
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Miriam
Jun 04, 2010 Miriam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: victorian, art, ideas
A Victorian gentleman named Guest is mysteriously transported forward in time to a society less futuristic than one might expect. A utopia of environmental purity, personal freedom, and peace, it is characterized by small communities of rural artisans modeled after Morris' idealized conception of medieval (communal, not feudal) society. There are no nations and no money. Each individual does the work that he or she finds fulfilling, and the products of labor are shared freely. Rather than perfec ...more
J.G. Keely
I first knew of Morris as the greatest bookbinder of the modern age, a master of textile design who single-handedly rediscovered half a dozen dead arts. But he was also a fantasist, contemporary with Dunsany, and a political thinker.

My search among the many branching roots of Fantasy lead me to pick up this collection, but I must admit this is not what I had in mind by 'fantasy'. Here, Morris gives us a rather bland and didactic rundown of his perfect world, loosely structured around something
...more
Jose lana
Mar 23, 2016 Jose lana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: utopic
There are many distopic novels but few utopic,between them is this: News from Nowhere.

It is a utopic socialist novel on the edge of anarchism;taking account that it was written in 1890 in a pre high technological society and by that a no to day utopic novel,it describes a a semirural society where part of people returned from cities to the fields,a society without classes,with a comunal property of the means of production,with few useless things produced,where the people works in that it wish an
...more
Andrea
Oct 13, 2014 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
1024px-Kelmscott_Manor_News_from_Nowhere(1890) William Morris

A utopian novel, set in the 2000s -- It feels so strange to have lived through the futures named by so many utopian and dystopian writers, even if only by year and not imagining. A socialist returns home to Hammersmith frustrated with another meeting of argument and lost tempers (nothing has changed there) and wakes up in a world transformed by revolution. This is actually one of the nicer utopias I've read, here is the new Hammersmith and his dream of the Thames river bank
...more
James
Jan 04, 2012 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An excellent book, originally written in response to Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, whom William Morris considered to take too much of a statist approach.

Whilst Morris' book is utopian (assuming people will find work pleasurable), it is interesting to note that he ruled out the prospect of non-violent revolution, and so is perhaps less idealistic than Bellamy in this regard (Bellamy believed a peaceful transition of power was possible).

Overall, I think Bellamy's books stand up stronger, ha
...more
Werner
Jan 23, 2011 Werner marked it as started-and-not-finished  ·  review of another edition
This isn't an actual review (and I wouldn't do a rating), since I didn't finish the book --just an explanation of why I didn't! When I started the book, I was hoping that Morris' vision of his ideal society as agrarian, pastoral and decentralized (as opposed to the typical Utopian visions of his day) would produce a novel markedly more interesting than the other Utopian fiction of that era. Alas, it didn't; the basic components of his vision are still the same clueless optimism about human perfe ...more
Kerry
Nov 07, 2014 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I heard "News from Nowhere" described as a socialist utopian romance, and while it's definitely all of those things it's also super dull and patronising. The main action so far has been the main character, William Guest (DO YOU SEE) wandering around Future London, which has been transformed into a chilled-out libertarian socialist paradise after a mysterious revolution, and saying things like "But how can you simply give this beautifully worked tobacco pouch to me? Surely I should pay you for it ...more
Genia Lukin
Feb 18, 2012 Genia Lukin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Even knowing the background on which these books grew, I have something of a tolerant dislike towards old utopias. When I read them, it oftentimes seems to me that the authors, without intending and without really thinking about it, actually wrote a rather frightening dystopia, and thought well of it.

Of course, I am allergic to utopias in general, but I posit that this is not merely a completely subjective occurrence. I shall demonstrate:

Here, for instance, is the perfect communist small-village
...more
Mitch
Jan 17, 2013 Mitch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My Interest in this book was mostly academic. I wanted to clearly grasp Morris' perspectives concerning agrarian socialism, gender equality and the like. As a designer, I see his contributions to my occupation are profound, and I wanted to see if his politics would be as well. While the language he uses definitely shows it's age, it still maintains its accessibility. The world he describes, and the characters therein, are lovely though perhaps a little too perfect for my taste. I prefer the impe ...more
Alice
Mar 23, 2015 Alice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting look through the eyes of a Victorian writer on what may happen in the future. The style in mostly conversational with no real story line, rather a series of events and discussions on
the differences our main character experiences. However it doesn't drag as other similar novels do.

If you like sci-fi novels, H G Wells or utopias then this is a must read!
Erika
Oct 20, 2015 Erika rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 stelle e mezzo.
Dániel Darabos
Jul 15, 2015 Dániel Darabos rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I quite liked the premise, liked what I read about William Morris, and was interested in reading more about the socialist utopia he's arguing for. Yet, I was disappointed by the book.

For one, the writing is bland and there is no story. This book is only about presenting the the author's ideals and is not an attempt at literature. I can accept that.

It does a poor job of presenting Morris' ideals though. We are in the future, everything is clean, everybody is happy, and there is no private propert
...more
Deborah
Mar 15, 2015 Deborah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thoroughly enjoyed this, which I found out about entirely by accident. There was I, associating William Morris mainly with wallpaper, and it turned out he had written a Utopian fantasy, in which a man accidentally travels forward in time, learns about the revolution and civil war of the early 20th century, and journeys up the Thames in a boat, experiencing the joys of a society based on Arts and Crafts along the way. I was a little bit sad at the end; I like to think that having returned to writ ...more
Bex Lyons
Mar 31, 2015 Bex Lyons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A delightful book! Being a huge fan of Morris - his art, poetry, tapestries, wallpapers, and his general attitude to life - this book brought together all of these themes and preoccupations in one utopian vision, and I felt like I could almost hear him speaking the words aloud.

In the future, work is enjoyed, because it is done for pleasure. Care and artistry is taken in the manufacture of all things, and production no longer takes place on an industrial scale. England has returned to rural life,
...more
Stephen
Feb 08, 2016 Stephen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a fantastic book. It is a work that describes a visionary future, one which left me thinking that I wanted to live in that place. Of course, the place doesn't exist, but that doesn't prevent us from wanting to build elements of this utopia.

The book, first written in 1892, is set in 2003. The narrator - one William Guest - is transported from late Victorian London to the London of the imagined future of today. Much of what we see today is missing. There are no cars, there is no electrici
...more
D. Jason
A meeting takes place of some unnamed individuals, barely described, and hinted to be a meeting of socialists. After two leave the meeting, one laments to the other that if he could just see a glimpse of the future they are working toward, it would make his life much easier.

He goes home, falls asleep, and wakes up somewhere between a hundred and twenty and a hundred and fifty years later. (The book is vague and occasionally contradictory on timeframe. At any rate, events seem to be post-AD 2000.
...more
Roger Whitson
Jan 27, 2015 Roger Whitson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I got really impatient with the novel towards the end. But it isn't really a novel, it's more an indictment of what we look for in novels. "A long series of sham troubles [...] illustrated by dreary introspective nonsense about [the characters's] feelings and aspirations," as Ellen says. I kept wondering about the love plot and what would happen when Guest got back to Victorian England, rather than looking at Morris's masterful description of the mills populating the bank of the Thames or the el ...more
Callie
Aug 05, 2013 Callie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wish I could give negative stars.
Finrod
Nov 27, 2015 Finrod rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Mah… abbastanza perplesso sia dal libro in sé che da questa edizione.
La “stupidaggine” in effetti l'ho fatta io, per un autore ottocentesco avrei dovuto prima controllare su siti come liberliber o manybooks, e infatti col senno di poi ho scoperto che da entrambi si poteva scaricare gratis (e legalmente!) questo libro, nel primo caso è vero, solo come pdf o odt (ma in italiano), nel secondo in lingua originale ma sia come ePub che in una ventina (!) di altri formati. Inoltre se la versione di lib
...more
Mel
I am reading incredibly slowly at the moment. The first half of this book went very quickly but then it took another week to finish. It was more of an essay on the ideal state of the world than a novel but it was interesting nonetheless. Everything so focused on the arts and crafs movement, everyone a skilled artisan and everything made to be lovely. Ironically I thought the funniest part of the book was when the were discussing the differences between the sexes and the old man said how they wer ...more
Raisu
This is not a review, just a collection of random thoughts that occured to me while reading this book.

-- Morris is known as an early writer of what could be called "high fantasy" of secondary worlds, quests, dragons, and the like. Tolkien was a big fan, and drew inspiration and influence from Morris. News from Nowhere doesn't fit the fantasy mould, and despite the fact that it's supposedly set in the future, I would hesitate to call it science fiction. Atwood mentions it as an example of what sh
...more
Simon
Dec 05, 2012 Simon rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This took some diligence in the reading. There is nothing unpleasant in the task, but it lacked engagement. To be honest, reading it became something of a chore.
If I'd read it in my formative years I may have been taken by its promise of an Arcadian future once we have overthrown the oppressors and taken upon ourselves the means of production, communication and exchange. A land where everyone seems to have been designed by a graphic artist and wear clothes that have altogether too much embroider
...more
Ping
Apr 06, 2013 Ping rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took a little while to enter into the more archaic style of writing (of a novel published in 1890), but once I got the hang of it, I could begin to appreciate the panoramic sceneries that the main, first-person character 'Guest' painted of his adventures.

'Chapter XVII: How The Change Came' reads like a historic manifesto in episodic detail, around which sandwiches the mise en scene of the people, landscape, and principles of this land so unusual yet bewitching to Guest. And especially, at the
...more
Charlotte
Aug 08, 2010 Charlotte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dystopia
This is a didactic style utopian novel. The protagonist wakes from his dingy, troubled Victorian sleep into a communist utopia. London has gone from a polluted and overcrowded metropolis to a beautiful city on a clear running, fishing river. People live without stress or fear and enjoy whichever task they are undertaking, because they are doing it through choice. No wares are sold or purchased, as everything is made purely because somebody wants to make it. Crops are sowed and harvested, because ...more
Norman Cook
Sep 12, 2013 Norman Cook rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-book
And I thought Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy was a bland, didactic socialist utopia! At least Bellamy's arguments were well thought out and seemed at least plausible. Morris's communist utopia is full of half-baked ideas told in the most pedantic manner possible.

In Morris's world, everyone is happy just doing what they want to do, with no explanation as to why anyone would choose to do backbreaking menial tasks, and where mowing wheat is seen as a light, recreational activity.

It’s a world w
...more
Linda Price Dean
I loved the description of the ferryman using a little silver bugle horn to summon his friend - a victorian guess at a mobile phone - and who knows by 21 02 we may have discarded mobile technology and all have little silver horns tucked into our belts. The book is a arcadian vision in keeping with the Arts and Crafts tradition but it was sad that the women picked the strawberries to serve to the men on cabbage leaves for their breakfast rather than occupy more egalitarian roles. However, the pro ...more
Kristin
Sep 26, 2009 Kristin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book. It's a Socialist Utopian vision written in the Victorian era so what's not to like? Unfortunately, a lot. The problem is that it's horribly written, lacking any sense of plot or believability. And then there are the women--the narrator makes clear that women are equal in this society, but goes on to mention that it just so happens that they all love doing housework, cooking and cleaning for the men. They choose it over any other work they might do. Hmmm, I don't think ...more
Philip Lane
An interesting idea and description of a utopian world in the early 21st century. However Morris never really gets to any depth with any of the characters and the whole thing has a dreamlike quality which is what it turns out to have been all along. It whiled away a few hours and made me smile a few times but a bit too shallow for my tastes.
Evelyn
It is something of a miracle that I actually managed to read this all the way through and not give up on it. I know that it's a revered classic and many people love it, but I found it, for the most part, pretty tedious. Morris' fictional story of a happy socialist/communist utopian community could have been so much more, but lacked so many extra details that were sorely needed to really engage the reader with the world that he was trying to build. I also struggled with his ideals of how everyone ...more
Dean MacKinnon-Thomson
4/5

One of my favourite reads of all time. Blends Morris chartist and luddite overtones with his admirable arts and crafts socialism.

This may be a tricky little read but wade through it! Offers unique insight to the British socialism which doesn't state-worship and certainly isn't democratic. This utopian literature embodies late 19th century British revolutionary socialism.

This remains relevant to modern discourse, giving readers a chance to understand an anti-big-state socialist rejection of vi
...more
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William Morris was an English architect, furniture and textile designer, artist, writer, socialist and Marxist associated with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and the English Arts and Crafts Movement. Morris wrote and published poetry, fiction, and translations of ancient and medieval texts throughout his life. His best-known works include The Defence of Guenevere and Other Poems (1858), The Earthl ...more
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