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News from Nowhere

3.31  ·  Rating details ·  1,583 ratings  ·  138 reviews
News from Nowhere(1890) is the best-known prose work of William Morris and the only significant English utopia to be written since Thomas More's. The novel describes the encounter between a visitor from the nineteenth century, William Guest, and a decentralized and humane socialist future. Set over a century after a revolutionary upheaval in 1952, these "Chapters from a ...more
Paperback, Oxford World's Classics, 207 pages
Published April 17th 2003 by Oxford University Press (first published January 11th 1890)
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MJ Nicholls
It is pleasant to remember that, in our outrageous and ill-mannered world, we have the potential to create utopian societies, where ephebes and red-cheeked Venii canter around village greens, exchanging flirtatious banter in Latin and Welsh, never once seeking to crush a pockmarked peasant under their well-shod hobnails for the mere titter factor. Morris’s hallucinogenic utopian novel is like falling into a bed of soft blonde hair, or rolling around a meadow in one’s shorts as the summer sun ...more
Mir
Jun 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
J.G. Keely
Sep 07, 2011 rated it it was ok
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
Andrea
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
...more
Bettie
Oct 17, 2014 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Bettie by: Andrea
HUZZAH - Gutenberg comes up trumps again: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3261
Bryan Alexander
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit, utopia, anarchism, gender
This is such a strange and moving book, a novel about ideas that largely avoids plot, an argument for a retro utopia build in science fiction.

News from Nowhere is a utopian novel. It imagines a future almost two centuries off, wherein the market economy is gone, governments are done with, and cities have been reduced to small towns and a returning countryside. The novel offers an anarchist vision, but doesn't use that word more than once, and then only in the preface.

The novel also rejects
...more
Jose Moa
Oct 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
James
Jan 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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,
...more
Laura
From BBC Radio 4 Extra:
News from Nowhere is a classic piece of futuristic writing, first published in 1890 by artist, designer and socialist William Morris. Its central tenet - that society should refind the value of work and thrive on beauty, rather than consumerism - is timely. This updated drama revisits Morris' vision of a new society for now.

Our Will Guest is a modern day, 21st Century man, travelling from 2016 to a future Utopia. The word utopia comes from the Greek ou-topos, meaning
...more
Celine
Jan 21, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: class-reading
As like a socialist vision/utopia this is great (although still a little cisheteronormative and gender essentialist and very much a white middle class vision of reality) but as a story it was...very slow. It barely has a plot and at times it was a fight to keep my attention on it and keep reading.
Werner
Jan 21, 2011 marked it as started-and-not-finished
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 ...more
Genia Lukin
Dec 08, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Patrick St-Amand
Jul 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Certainly," I said, "you had better go on straight with your story. I see that time is wearing."

This pretty much sums up my feelings for the book. A very dated book that doesn't age well. There is no plot just aimless meandering by cardboard cutout characters that are lifeless and have no depth. It's basically the author's way of dressing up his criticism of the evils of the politics and social aspects of his time while pining for a utopian society.
Cecil Paddywagon
A beautiful vision not quite beautifully written; Morris, as a medievalist and friend of the pre-Raphaelites, combines nostalgia for a pre-capitalist past with a vision of a post-capitalist future. It is fascinating to catch a glimpse of what the ideal future looked like from the point of view of someone who had never imagined a telephone or an automobile, much less the internet, and so what we end up with is what H. G. Wells might consider to be the earliest stage in humanity's evolution into ...more
Jake
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was ok
Utopias are never as good as dystopias. The reason why is summed up in this story of a man who falls asleep in industrial age England and wakes up 100 years later in a socialist/communist utopia (the words are used interchangeably in this and mostly mean a society with no government- it was written before the USSR after all). The protagonist comes across only one dissident in this post-capitalist/royalist/aristocratic England. This is an old man who misses the old books with their conflict and ...more
Broadsnark
This book will not be for everyone. There are some very clumsy parts where he goes on about attractive young ladies that I could definitely do without. And Morris is much more interested in architecture than I will ever be. But if you are interested in utopian literature and can manage to get through the 1800s prose, than you may find this book worth a read. I'm always amazed at how we are always fighting the same battles in every generation. Our means of travel and communication might be very ...more
George Fowles
It started off really interesting and I did want to know how this future works but in the context of a story. The middle turned into one big exposition dump and I can't help but wonder if this political vision could have been written in a different form. The writing was easy to read but the later sections contained a lot of descriptions of how wide the river is and the elm trees that surround it. The way chapter 1 starts, you know that it's going to end the way it does straightaway but I can't ...more
Karen
Aug 01, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 1001
After a meeting with fellow socialists a man returns to his home in Hammersmith, wakes up in the morning in a future Hammersmith (2001 is mentioned). This future is an idyllic world of everyone working at what they are best suited, whether it is artistic or farming. England now has no government, money or marriage. The people are actually afraid of running out of work to do. It is truly interesting to see Morris' idea of utopia
nadia (( disquieting thing ))
almost hilarious how pretentious this was. did not have a good time, but i definitely didn't Hate It either. i expected it to be something else entirely, something with action and like, actual adventure, instead of literally plain description of the way society operates. conclusion: sad. disappointed. bye ...more
Ashley Walker
Oct 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Published in 1890 in response to Edward Bellamy’s utopian novel “Looking Backward” published 3 years earlier.
Both these books are remarkably similar which leads me to conclude that Morris agreed with much of Bellamy’s vision of a socialist society and also thought that the story in Looking Backward was a good vehicle in which to present these ideas. Morris, however must have objected to Bellamy’s world being completely reliant on machine technology to achieve its utopian state and felt
...more
James Moon
Feb 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea that one of my favourite artists had written a utopian novel and the vision Morris explains actually holds up quite well today. It's one of the only victorian works I've read that has a strong environmental message and acknowledges the impacts of consumerism. As examples Morris describes a future where London has been rewilded and society's approach to work is to turn necessary work into an art form. He paints a perfect picture of how this all works on a summers afternoon but ...more
Susan Marie
Oct 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A fine Utopian novel written in response to Edward Bellamy's "Looking Backward" two years after the publication. Morris' purpose was to educate the 19th century about the pitfalls of current social and economic systems in place. Morris does something different in his novel when compared to most Utopian themed books, he focuses on art, poetry, architecture, and the natural order of things coming from a Socialist point of view. Read Bellamy first, then Morris. Both books are fantastic, similar, ...more
Stephen
Jan 13, 2016 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
...more
Kerry
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
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 ...more
Zachary Leon
May 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The height of self-indulgence, an imagined London where everything is exactly as William Morris wants it. The characters are all perfect, and do little beyond serving to explain how and why this society is so perfect and brilliant. Everyone looks great, loves work, lives for the moment and they all work together.

Coming from anyone other than William Morris it would all be twaddle, but as it is, coming from perhaps the most prolific, polymathic and well-intentioned Englishmen from the past 500
...more
Mitch
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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 ...more
Helen Murray
I can honestly say I've never read anything like it. Scifi - but not as we know it. About the furthest thing from an apocalyptic vision of the future, yet with a grasp on the grim reality of revolution. Embodies the curious amalgamation of progressive socialism and nostalgic aesthetic craftsmanship in late Pre-Raphaelitism. Stimulating to the senses, intriguing to the critical faculties. Wonderfully odd!
Alice
Mar 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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!
Layla (Between the Lines)
This was another assigned reading for my English class. I won't be writing a full review for it because I have too many essays to write as is.
Wanda
Aug 05, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classic, 1001-books
Wish I could give negative stars.
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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 ...more
“If others can see it as I have seen it, then it may be called a vision rather than a dream.” 6 likes
“For these lands, and, I say, especially the northern parts of America, suffered so terribly from the full force of the last days of civilisation, and became such horrible places to live in, that they are now very backward in all that makes life pleasant. Indeed, one may say that for nearly a hundred years the people of the northern parts of America have been engaged in gradually making a dwelling-place out of a stinking dust-heap; and there is still a great deal to do, especially as the country is so big.” 1 likes
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