Anthropology, Socialist Prediction and William Morris’s Commonweal

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2 Citations (Scopus)


In the late nineteenth century, a number of writers turned to anthropology to predict a socialist future. They included prominent revolutionary socialists: Friedrich Engels, William Morris and members of the Socialist League. Contextualising the appropriation of the anthropologist Lewis Henry Morgan by such readers, this article also pays particular attention to socialist popularisations of anthropology, particularly those by Morris and his fellow writers in his penny weekly, the Commonweal. Focusing on Morris’s articles on ancient society helps to illuminate his own understanding of history, art and socialism. It also sheds new light on his predictive fiction News from Nowhere, which was originally read alongside Commonweal non-fiction. Both, I will argue, encouraged readers to see the future in the struggles of the ancient past.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-367
Number of pages19
Journalcultural and social history
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • History


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