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The E-BNR aims to build a comprehensive & unique cross-artform guide to the British neo-Romantic tradition, from 1880 to the present day.

While the British Romantics of 1789-1824 have spawned a vast industry of publishers, conferences & tourism, the later neo-Romantic traditions remain largely neglected. The E-BNR is aimed at bringing this hidden tradition to light.

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 WHAT IS NEO-ROMANTICISM ?

  Neo-Romantic artists have drawn their inspiration   from artists of the age of Romanticism or earlier.   Characteristic themes in their work include a   mystical approach to the British landscape...

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  This is the online   Encyclopedia-BNR,   version 0.5 beta.

  Contact the editor.
INDEX OF ENTRIES:

1880-1920:


  Fiction:

George Macdonald.
Lewis Carroll.
John Ruskin.
Christina Rosetti.
Rudyard Kipling.
William Morris.
Richard Jefferies.
Edward Carpenter.
Kenneth Grahame.
Arthur Machen.
Algernon Blackwood.
'Saki'.

  Poetry:

G.M. Hopkins.
W.B. Yeats.
A.E. Housman
Laurence Binyon.

  Music:

Gustav Holst.
Vaughan Williams.
Edward Elgar.
Granville Bantock.

  Painting:

Edward Burne-Jones.
Maxwell Armfield.
Mark Symons.
John Duncan.
George Henry.
  & Edward Atkinson
  Cornell.

Gerald Moira.
Robert Bateman.
Samuel Palmer.
Walter Crane.
Edward Robert Hughes.
Bernard Sleigh.
Eleanor Fortescue
  -Brickdale.

Nathaniel Sparks.
F.C. Robinson.
Reginald Hallward.
Laurence Housman.
James Joshua Guthrie.
Paul Nash.
Charles Mahoney.
Arthur Rackham.
Thomas Cooper Gotch.
Christopher Wood.

  Movements:

Symbolism.
Aesthetic movement.
Birmingham Group.
Neo-gothic architecture.
Pictorialism.
Fairy & ghost photos.


1920s - 'places to hide':

Ballet design.
Book illustration.
The Kibbo Kift.


1930-to-1955:


  Fiction:

John Cowper Powys.
J.R.R. Tolkien.
Mervyn Peake.
C.S. Lewis.
Daphne du Maurier.
Mary Webb.
Herbert Read.
Forrest Reid
T.H. White.
Hugh Walpole.

  Non-fiction:

Robert Graves.
Rev. Francis Kilvert.
Geoffrey Grigson.
Bill Brandt.
Roger Mayne.
John Deakin.
Nikolaus Pevsner.

  Music:

Arnold Bax.
Vaughan Williams.

  Painting:

John Piper.
John Craxton.
John Minton.
David Jones.
Graham Sutherland.
Stanley Spencer.
Eric Ravilious.
Ralph Chubb.
Charles Mahoney.
Michael Ayrton.
Thomas Monnington.

  Poetry:

Dylan Thomas.
Edwin Smith.
Ithell Colquhoun.
Francis Berry.
George Barker.
Laurence Whistler.

  Film:

Humphrey Jennings.
Powell & Pressburger.
David Lean.
Epic British film music.

 


 

 

 

   ENTRY: Morris, William

   William Morris (b. March 24, 1834 d. October 3, 1896) was an English artist, writer, political activist and pioneer of ecologically-aware politics. He was one of the principal founders of the British Arts and Crafts movement, and a writer of poetry and fantasy fiction.

   He schooled at Marlborough College, but left in 1851 after a student rebellion there. He then went to Oxford University, Exeter College, after studying for his matriculation to the university. He became influenced by John Ruskin there, and met his life-long friends and collaborators, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Edward Burne-Jones, Ford Madox Brown and Philip Webb there as well. He also met his wife, Jane Burden, a working-class girl whose pale skin, languid figure, and wavy, abundant dark hair were considered by Morris and his friends the epitome of beauty.

   These friends formed a neo-romantic artistic movement, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. They eschewed the tawdry industrial manufacture of decorative arts and architecture and favoured a return to hand-craftsmanship, raising artisans to the status of artists.

   In 1861, he founded the firm of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. with Gabriel Rossetti, Burne-Jones, Madox Brown and Philip Webb. Throughout his life, he continued to work in his own firm, although the firm changed names. Its most famous incarnation was as Morris and Company. The company encouraged the revival of traditional crafts such as stained glass painting, and Morris himself single-handedly recreated the art of tapestry weaving in England. His designs are still sold today.

   Morris had already begun publishing poetry and short stories through a magazine founded with his friends while at university. His first independently published work, the Arthurian The Defence of Guinevere was coolly received by the critics, and he was discouraged from publishing more for a number of years.

   When he returned to poetry it was with The Earthly Paradise, a huge collection of poems loosely bound together with the theme of a group of mediaeval wanderers who set out to search for a land of everlasting life and after much disillusion discover a surviving colony of Greeks with whom they exchange stories. The collection brought him almost immediate fame and popularity.

   The last-written stories in the collection are retellings of ancient Icelandic sagas, and from then until his later period Morris's fascination with the ancient Germanic and Norse peoples dominated his writing. Together with his Icelandic friend Eirikr Magnusson he was the first to translate many of the Icelandic sagas into English, and his own epic retelling of the story of Sigurd the Volsung was his favourite among his poems.

   In 1877, he founded the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. His preservation work, along with that of Ruskin and the Hill sisters, resulted ultimately in the founding of the National Trust.

   Morris found himself rather awkwardly positioned as a mediator between the doctrinare marxist and romantic anarchist sides of 19th century progressive politics. This side of Morris's work is well-discussed in the biography (subtitled 'Romantic to Revolutionary') by E. P. Thompson. It was during this period that Morris wrote his best-known prose works; in particular "A Dream of John Ball" and the utopian novel News from Nowhere. It is perhaps on this latter novel that his English neo-romanticism expresses its ideas most fully. The book would later strongly influence the rise of the environmental movement and 'green' anarchism in the British Isles.

   Morris and Rossetti rented a country house, Kelmscott Manor at Kelmscott, Oxfordshire, as a summer retreat, but it soon became a retreat for Rossetti and Jane Morris to have a long-lasting affair. After his departure from the Socialist League Morris divided his time between the Company, now relocated to Merton Abbey, the Kelmscott Press (a pioneer of finely printed and designed books, including works by Ruskin), and Kelmscott Manor, where he wrote a series of fantasy novels later to be a strong influence on J.R.R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.

   In January 1891, Morris founded the Kelmscott Press at Hammersmith, London, in order to produce examples of improved printing and book design. He designed clear typefaces, such as his Roman 'golden' type, which was inspired by that of the early Venetian printer Nicolaus Jenson, and medievalizing decorative borders for books that drew their inspiration from the incunabula of the 15th century and their woodcut illustrations. Selection of paper and ink, and concerns for the overall integration of type and decorations on the page made the Kelmscott Press the most famous of the private presses of the Arts and Crafts movement. It operated until 1898, producing 53 volumes, and inspired other private presses, notably the Doves Press.

   At his death in 1896 he was buried in the Kelmscott village churchyard.

Fantasy works:

The Defence of Guinevere, and other Poems (1858)
The Earthly Paradise (18681870)
Love is Enough, or The Freeing of Pharamond (1872)
The Story of Sigurd the Volsung and the Fall of the Nibelungs (1876)
Hopes and Fears For Art (1882)
A Dream of John Ball (1886)
The House of the Wolfings (1888)
The Roots of the Mountains (1889)
News from Nowhere (1890)
The Story of the Glittering Plain (1890)
The Well at the World's End (1892)
The Wood Beyond the World (1895)
The Water of the Wondrous Isles (1896)
The Sundering Flood (1898)

Morris's book, The Wood Beyond the World, is considered to have heavily influenced C. S. Lewis' Narnia series, while J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired by Morris's reconstructions of early Saxon life in The House of the Wolfings and The Roots of the Mountains. Editor and fantasy scholar Lin Carter credits William Morris with originating the imaginary-world fantasy with The Well at the World's End and his subsequent fantasy novels. These contain no reference to our own world; they are set neither in the past nor in an after-the-revolution future (as is News from Nowhere), and not on another planet.


~

INDEX OF ENTRIES:

1955-to-1975:

  Painting:

Leslie Hurry.
Robin Tanner.
Ceri Richards.
Michael Ayrton.


  Classical music:

Havergal Brian.
Benjamin Britten.

  Poetry:

Dylan Thomas   (reputation).
Vernon Watkins.
Ted Hughes.
Christopher Logue.
Keith Vaughan.
Ore magazine.
Eric Ratcliffe.
Edwin Morgan.
Roland Mathias.

  Fiction:

Laurie Lee.
Alan Garner.
John Gordon.

  Non-fiction:

Laurie Lee.
E.P. Thompson.
J.A. Baker.
Geoffrey Grigson.


1975-to-2000:


  Photography:

Fay Godwin.
James Ravilious.
Raymond Moore.
Andy Goldsworthy.

  Popular music:

Robert Wyatt.
Syd Barrett.
Marc Bolan.
John Foxx.
Throbbing Gristle.
Genesis P. Orridge.
The Dancing Did.
Virginia Astley.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.

  Classical music:

Dave Heath.

  Illustration:

Clifford Harper.

  Film:

Derek Jarman.
David Rudkin.

  Fashion:

Vivienne Westwood.

  Literature:

Angela Carter.
Ted Hughes.
Peter Ackroyd.
Heathcote Williams.
Keith Roberts.
Richard Cowper.
Robert Holdstock.
Susan Cooper.

  Poetry:

Kathleen Raine.
Roland Mathias.
Gwyn Thomas.
R.S. Thomas.
George Mackay
  Brown.

Seamus Heaney.
Pauline Stainer.

  Artists:

Graham Ovenden.
Annie Ovenden.
Ann Arnold.
Robert Lenkiewicz.
John Elwyn.
Cecil Collins.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Andrew Logan.
Alan Reynolds.
Norman Ackroyd.
Christopher P. Wood.
Jim Leon.

  Groups & circles:

The Ruralists.
Temenos magazine.
Resurgence magazine.
Crop Circles, makers.
English Underground.


2000 - to the present:

Andrew Logan.
Ian Hamilton Finlay.
Vivienne Westwood.
Andy Goldsworthy.
Christopher Bucklow.
Peter Ackroyd.
Pauline Stainer.
Brian Eno.
Roger Eno.
Jon Aldersea.
Christopher P. Wood.
Made in Staffordshire, England.   2007. Last updated: 18th Jan 2007. Site search by PicoSearch.
Some of the initial E-BNR text was sourced or partly derived from Wikipedia, used here under the GNU licence.