Boos, Florence Saunders Books

Design of William Morris' The Earthly Paradise
1991 0-88946-933-4
Examines The Earthly Paradise as the first mature poetic expression of Morris' view that a poet is also a historian who bears the immense responsibility of creation and narration. Details one of the longest and most complex single poetic narratives in the English language along several lines: systematic use of multiple narrators and audiences which deepen the poem's sense of shared experience and impose a coherent structure on its temporal and other discontinuities; the alterations of confession, description, and retrospection in the frame and inner tales that enabled Morris to complete one of the fullest Victorian meditations on the creation of identity through frustrated love and sorrow; the flexibility and subtlety of the poem's various allegorical resonances and narrative levels; and the "stoic," aesthetic, and political implications of Morris' evolving ideal of friendship.