So, this morning I got up early --like 4 a.m. early -- to be able to see a Zoom talk on William Morris. Hosted by the William Morris Gallery, a group I hadn't even heard of till the day before,* it was a forty-five minute lunchtime lecture** by assistant curator Ainsley Vinall and focused on the aspect of Morris of most interest to me; 'William Morris's Fantasy Fiction'.*** Here's a brief description of the event.
Something he said that stood out for me was his suggestion that it's best to think of Morris and Tolkien and C. S. Lewis as kindred spirits working along the same lines, rather than treating Morris as the influencer and Tolkien/Lewis as the influenced. The real progenitor of all three, he suggested, was Walter Scott through his Waverley Novels. I've only read one of those, years ago, and didn't think much of it. Clearly it's time I gave it another try: any suggestions as to which one much appreciated.
Also, having read all Morris's fantasy fiction, which dates mostly to the end of his career, and knowing how important Morris's THE EARTHLY PARADISE was in inspiring Tolkien's BOOK OF LOST TALES project, I shd probably go back and read some one of Morris's early verse romances, such as THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JASON, if I can find a good edition.
So, getting up so early wrecked my schedule for the rest of the day, but I'd say it was worth it.
--current reading: SYLVIE & BRUNO by Lewis Carroll
*Thanks to D. for the tip
**lunchtime in the UK that is
***I planned to devote a chapter of my dissertation to Morrris as the means through which medievalism became the default setting of modern fantasy, as well as devoting the first column in my 'Classics of Fantasy, series to Morris's masterpiece, THE WELL AT THE WORLD'S END.
alternative universe VI
1 day ago