Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Utopias Editor Recants

Readers of John Carey's splendid Faber Book of Utopias (1999) will have been struck by how dismissive he is in his editorial comments to the section of News from Nowhere that he presents in his book. Morris's utopian scheme, Carey remarks, 'ignores virtually every basic factor of social and economic reality', and displays 'in its adequacies, the confusion and hypocrisy that have dogged the course of English Socialism' (p.316).

These are hard words, but it appears that the former Merton Professor of English at Oxford University has mellowed over the years; for more recently he writes (in a personal communication to the author, 6.03.08): 'You should not pay much attention to my views on WM. My main grudge against him is that he is so rude about Hammersmith Bridge, to which I fondly recall being taken to feed the seagulls when I was a child'.

Perhaps we could have this comment appended to any future edition of the book itself...?

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