Socialism, Sex, and the Culture of Aestheticism in Britain, 1880-1914

Hardcover | October 18, 2007

byRuth Livesey

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This book brings to life the growth of the socialist movement among men and women artists and writers in late nineteenth-century Britain. For these campaigners, socialism was inseparable from a desire for a new beauty of life; beauty that also, for many, required them rejecting the sexualconventions of the Victorian era.From the early 1880s and well into the twentieth century, the efforts of these writers and activists existed in critical tension with other contemporary developments in literary culture. Livesey maps the ongoing dialogue between socialist writers like William Morris, decadent aesthetes such as OscarWilde and defining figures of early modernism including Virginia Woolf and Roger Fry. She concludes that socialist writers developed a distinct political aesthetic in which the love of beauty was to act as a force for revolutionary change. The book draws on archival research and extensive study of socialist periodicals, together with readings of works by writers including Morris, Wilde, Schreiner, George Bernard Shaw, Isabella Ford, Carpenter, Alfred Orage, Woolf and Fry. Livesey uncovers the lasting influence of socialist writers ofthe 1880s on the emergence of British literary modernism and by tracing the lives of neglected writers and activists such as Clementina Black and Dollie Radford, she provides a vivid evocation of an era in which revolution seemed imminent and the arts a vital route to that future.

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This book brings to life the growth of the socialist movement among men and women artists and writers in late nineteenth-century Britain. For these campaigners, socialism was inseparable from a desire for a new beauty of life; beauty that also, for many, required them rejecting the sexualconventions of the Victorian era.From the early ...

Ruth Livesay is a Lecturer in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Deputy Director, Centre for Victorian Studies, Department of English, Royal Holloway, University of London.

other books by Ruth Livesey

Format:HardcoverDimensions:230 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.79 inPublished:October 18, 2007Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0197263984

ISBN - 13:9780197263983

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Table of Contents

1. William Morris and the Aesthetics of Manly Labour2. Politics, Fellowship and Romance: Clementina Black and the Culture of Socialism in 1880s London3. Olive Schreiner and the Dream of Labour4. Socialism, Masculinity and the 'Faddist' Sage: Edward Carpenter and George Bernard Shaw5. Dollie Radford and the Ethical Aesthetics of Fin-de-Siecle Poetry6. Engendering the New Age: Isabella Ford and Alfred Orage7. Legacies: Socialist Aesthetics and the Modernist Generation