ALIENATION AND ITS OBLITERAION BY ART IN W. MORRIS?S NEWS FROM NOWHERE

Abstract

Author(s): Hamdi Ali SERDAR

Situated in a distant future as a small and simple garden-like utopian city, and completely freed from industrial mechanization of any kind, London in William Morris’s News from Nowhere easily stands out against its Victorian doppelgänger. The exclusion of machinery as a modern technique of industrial production from Morris’s Nowhere and the consequential replacement of it with art, only obtainable in return for a high price paid out by the oppressed working classes when they rose up against the oppressing upper classes, are all part of what can be considered as an attempt to create a classless society with equality lying at its heart. Owing to the fact that Morris’s News from Nowhere came out shortly after Karl Marx’s Das Kapital was first published in German in 1867, and subsequently in English twenty years later, Morris’s portrayal of communal simplicity in his Nowhere as peacefully shared among individuals seems to be intended as a replica of human existence in mediaeval times. Morris’s preference for an oxymoronic return to the distant past in a future land, where his narrator William Guest suffers from a sense of alienation throughout his journey despite the fact that in his dream he finds himself in his homeland again but not elsewhere, can best be encapsulated in entfremdung, Marx’s theory of alienation, which fundamentally results from exposure to the division of society into classes, especially when it is backed up by the capitalist mode of production. This paper is written, therefore, with substantial evidence from both Morris’s own work, News from Nowhere, and some external sources to make a reading of the kind hinted at above possible.

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