Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Guest house

Guest house. Home of the narrator, William Guest, in London’s Hammersmith district, where Morris himself lived in a late eighteenth century brick Georgian town house that he called Kelmscott House. Guest’s house stands on the very site of Morris’s house, which Morris regarded as merely a convenient place in which to live and store his belongings. Guest’s home echoes Morris’s own taste in architecture and ornamentation. However, in the novel the surrounding area is greatly changed for the better: The nearby River Thames is cleaner, all signs of industry are removed, and Hammersmith Bridge has been replaced by something similar to the old London Bridge.


*London. After Guest awakens in the twenty-first century, he visits central London with Dick Hammond, the weaver, and compares the future city with the London of his own time. Most of the nineteenth century buildings with which Guest was familiar in his own time have been replaced by buildings that are more beautiful. These buildings embrace the best qualities of Morris’s favorite architectural styles, including the Gothic and the Byzantine. Public buildings are designed according to function and there are fewer of them—mostly meetinghouses, market halls, and guest houses for a population that is remarkably mobile. At the same time, much of London has reverted to woodlands and pastures, and Guest learns that this is true for all of England. Many towns have...

(The entire section is 611 words.)


(Great Characters in Literature)

Aho, Gary L. William Morris: A Reference Guide. Boston: G. K. Hall, 1985. A comprehensive guide to studies about William Morris through 1982, with numerous references to News from Nowhere.

Faulkner, Peter. Against the Age: An Introduction to William Morris. London: George Allen and Unwin, 1980. A concise discussion of the multifaceted work of William Morris. Places News from Nowhere in the context of Morris’ other writings and activities.

Kirchhoff, Frederick. William Morris. Boston: Twayne, 1979. A study of William Morris that concentrates on his literary works. News from Nowhere is discussed in the context of Morris’ socialism.

Lindsay, Jack. William Morris: His Life and Work. London: Constable, 1975. A thorough and readable biography of William Morris.

Silver, Carole. The Romance of William Morris. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1982. A study of Morris’ prose romances; includes a chapter on News from Nowhere.