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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.

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Sunday, 23 June 2013

Finishing Clayhanger

Thursday, June 23rd., Villa des Nefliers, Fontainebleau.

I have just (3 p.m.) finished "Clayhanger" one week in advance of time. 160,800 words. For the last few days it has monopolised me. But quite contrary to my general practice towards the end of a novel I have kept in magnificent health.

I was thinking about William Morris, and, looking back in this journal to October 3rd., 1896, I see that I wrote "William Morris died". That is all!
Water House, Walthamstow
I wish I had made the opportunity when I lived in London to make his acquaintance, or at least to attend one of the socialist meetings at which he was a speaker. I have visited Water House in Walthamstow, where he lived from 1848 to 1856, and Red House in Bexleyheath which he had built, and where he went to live when he married Jane Burden. Remarkable to me, as I think now, is the scope of his activity: a talented artist and designer; no mean poet; bibliophile; businessman; author; public speaker .... The time he spent in Iceland seems to have been particularly significant for him.

As for socialism, I can't help but wonder how the 'figures' of socialism like Morris, the Webbs, Shaw and Wells, reconcile their beliefs with their lifestyle. Obviously if they gave away all their wealth it would be the merest drop in the ocean and would make no practical difference to the generality of class inequality; but still?

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