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Hopes and Fears for Art   By: (1834-1896)

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Hopes and Fears for Art by William Morris is an enlightening exploration of the author's thoughts and beliefs regarding the state of art during his time. Throughout this book, Morris offers a compelling argument for the preservation and elevation of art in society, sharing his fears and dreams for its future.

One of the most remarkable aspects of this book is Morris's ability to seamlessly blend his passion for art with his social and political ideologies. He presents art as something that should not be confined to the elite, but rather as a vital aspect of everyday life for all individuals. Morris emphasizes the importance of accessible and meaningful art, as he believes it has the power to inspire and improve the overall quality of life.

Morris's discussions on craftsmanship and the value of labor are equally thought-provoking. He argues for a return to the traditional methods of creating art, emphasizing the significance of handiwork and the satisfaction it brings to both the creator and the audience. His vision of a society where artists are revered, and their work is deemed invaluable, serves as a rallying cry to reevaluate our current relationship with art.

The author's writing style is undeniably captivating, with his words flowing effortlessly from one idea to another. Although the book was written over a century ago, Morris's views on art remain relevant today. His passion and vision are palpable, leaving readers inspired and motivated to examine their own relationship with art and its place in society.

However, there are moments when the text becomes heavily laden with historical references and technical language, which may prove challenging for those less familiar with art history or theory. It would have been helpful had the author provided more context or explanations for certain terms or events to ensure that readers of all backgrounds fully grasp his arguments.

Despite this minor criticism, Hopes and Fears for Art is an important work that should be cherished by art enthusiasts, historians, and individuals seeking a richer understanding of the cohesion between art and society. Morris's impassioned plea for the elevation of art to a place of prominence is both inspiring and thought-provoking, making this book an essential read for anyone interested in the intersection of art, politics, and social change.

First Page:

This etext was produced by David Price, email, from the 1919 Longmans, Green and Co. edition.


by William Morris


The Lesser Arts The Art of the People The Beauty of Life Making the Best of It The Prospects of Architecture in Civilisation


Hereafter I hope in another lecture to have the pleasure of laying before you an historical survey of the lesser, or as they are called the Decorative Arts, and I must confess it would have been pleasanter to me to have begun my talk with you by entering at once upon the subject of the history of this great industry; but, as I have something to say in a third lecture about various matters connected with the practice of Decoration among ourselves in these days, I feel that I should be in a false position before you, and one that might lead to confusion, or overmuch explanation, if I did not let you know what I think on the nature and scope of these arts, on their condition at the present time, and their outlook in times to come. In doing this it is like enough that I shall say things with which you will very much disagree; I must ask you therefore from the outset to believe that whatever I may blame or whatever I may praise, I neither, when I think of what history has been, am inclined to lament the past, to despise the present, or despair of the future; that I believe all the change and stir about us is a sign of the world's life, and that it will lead by ways, indeed, of which we have no guess to the bettering of all mankind... Continue reading book >>

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