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Slow PrintLiterary Radicalism and Late Victorian Print Culture$
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Elizabeth Carolyn

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780804784085

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804784085.001.0001

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No News is Good News

No News is Good News

William Morris's Utopian Print

(p.32) Chapter 1 No News is Good News
Slow Print
Stanford University Press

This chapter discusses William Morris' two major ventures into radical print: the Commonweal socialist newspaper, which he edited from 1885 to 1890; and the Kelmscott Press, which he founded in 1891. Pointedly removed from the general flow of mainstream print, these two print enterprises construct themselves as utopian spaces outside the “march of progress” narrative (predicting endless expansion) that had accrued to print and to capitalism. The chapter compares versions of Morris' novels A Dream of John Ball and News from Nowhere, both of which were initially published serially in the Commonweal and later in Kelmscott editions, to show how Morris exploited aspects of each print medium to critique the political effects of mass print culture. His career in radical print demonstrates his perception of the failure of liberal notions of print as an agent of progress and his effort to reinvent print as an ideal practice at the level of production.

Keywords:   radical print, Commonweal, Kelmscott Press, socialist newspaper, A Dream of John Ball, News from Nowhere, mass print culture

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