front cover of Design in the Age of Darwin
Design in the Age of Darwin
From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright
Stephen F Eisenman
Northwestern University Press, 2008

Charles Darwin’s monumental The Origin of Species, published in 1859, forever changed the landscape of natural science. The scientific world of the time had already established the principle of the “intelligent design” of a Creator; the art world had spent centuries devoting itself to the celebration of such a Designer’s creation. But the language of the book, and its implications, were stunning, and the ripples Darwin made when he rocked the boat spread outward: if he could question the Designer, what effect might there be on the art world, and on mortal designers’ renderings of Creation. 

Published in partnership with the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art to accompany its exhibit, this catalog of essays and more than fifty color exhibition plates invokes these two senses of “intelligent design”—one from the debates between science and theology and the other from the world of art, particularly architecture and the decorative arts. The extensive exhibition includes furniture, metalware, glassware, textiles, and designs on loan from public and private collections in the United States and England. Among the artwork included are items from William Morris, C. R. Ashbee, Christopher Dresser, C. F. A. Voysey, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan. Through these pieces and the accompanying examinations, the book explores how popular conceptions of the theory of evolution were used or rejected by British and American artists in the years that followed Darwin’s publication.


front cover of History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris, 1855–1870
History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris, 1855–1870
Florence Saunders Boos
The Ohio State University Press, 2015
Florence S. Boos’s History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris, 1855–1870 examines Morris’s literary development in the context of his Victorian contemporaries, probing the cross-influences of temperament, cultural ambiance, early reader reactions, and his restless search for an authentic poetic voice. Boos argues that to understand this development, we must understand how Morris reinterpreted and transformed medieval history and legend into modern guise. In doing so, Morris preserved a duality of privacy and detachment—the intimacy of personal lyrics and the detachment (and silences) of historical judgment.              
Boos’s study is the first to utilize surviving original manuscripts, periodical publications, and poems unpublished during Morris’s lifetime. History and Poetics in the Early Writings of William Morris, 1855–1870traces Morris’s literary evolution through his juvenile poems; the essays, poems, and prose romances of the Oxford and CambridgeMagazine; the startlingly original verses of The Defence of Guenevere; and the ten years of experimentation that preceded his two best-known epics, The Life and Deathof Jason and The Earthly Paradise. This book explores the young poet’s successive efforts to find a balancing ethical framework through poetry—a framework that was at once a motivation for action and a template for authentic, shared popular art, one that reemerges forcefully in his later work.

logo for Pluto Press
Marxism and the History of Art
From William Morris to the New Left
Edited by Andrew Hemingway
Pluto Press, 2006
This unique book is the first comprehensive introduction to Marxist approaches to art history. Although the aesthetic was a crucial part of Marx and Engels's thought, they left no programmatic statements on the arts. In meeting this gap, succeeding Marxists have inevitably devised a wide variety of approaches to both aesthetics and the writing of art's history. Although there is an abundant scholarship on Marxist approaches to literature, the historiography of the visual arts from a Marxist perspective has been largely neglected despite the large impact it has had within academic art history since 1970.

This book encompasses a range of influential thinkers and historians from the period of the Second and Third Internationals down to the heyday of the New Left. Among the individuals it covers are William Morris, Mikhail Lifshits, Frederick Antal, Francis Klingender, Max Raphael, Meyer Schapiro, Walter Benjamin, Henri Lefebvre, and Arnold Hauser. It also includes three essays addressing the heritage of the New Left. In the spirit of Marxism itself, the authors interpret the achievements and limitations of Marxist art history in relation to the historical and political circumstances of its production and provide an indispensable and lucid introduction to contemporary radical practices in the field.


Send via email Share on Facebook Share on Twitter