Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Morris, William, 1834-1896--Criticism and interpretation. Morris, William, 1834-1896--Philosophy. Sex role--History--To 1500. Labor--History--To 1500. Art--History--To 1500.


Interpreting the past often reveals as much about the interpreter as it does about the subject they interpret. This was the case with William Morris and his utopian mythologization of the Middle Ages. His art, writings, politics, and philosophy are suffused with a utopian vision of the medieval past. It runs through the whole body of his work and even in affected his personal life. It became a lens through which he could understand the world around him, a source on which he could draw for his political, social, and artistic critiques of Victorian Society. Through three different vantage points, Gender, Art, and Work, this thesis looks at the role of the Medieval in his thought. It considers its effect on his understanding of gender and his marriage. It considers also how it shaped his perception of Work, leading him to idealize the medieval guild system and the craftsman. Finally, it looks at how medieval Art shaped what he perceived as quality Art and how in turn that played an important role in his political thought and activism.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Department of History

First Advisor

Thomas G. Connors, Chair, Thesis Committee

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (v, 114 pages)



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