• Retirement in Utopia: William Morris's Senescent Socialism

    Author(s):
    Jacob Jewusiak (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Late-Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century English Literature, LLC Victorian and Early-20th-Century English, TC Age Studies
    Subject(s):
    Nineteenth-century fiction, Socialism, Utopian literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    aging, retirement, pension, Victorian
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/93ee-qb31
    Abstract:
    This essay argues that William Morris's work displaces an implicit youthful bias in theories of utopia and socialism by making senescence a structuring principle of his ideal society. For Morris, capitalist age ideology stratifies the lifespan into zones of youth and old age, usefulness and excess, and he perceived the rising reformist socialism--like that of H. G. Wells or Edward Bellamy--as reproducing this hierarchy by demanding shorter intervals of work and early retirement. Viewing the superannuation of workers as emblematic of capitalist waste, Morris annexes senescence from the realm of excess and non-productivity, expanding the horizon of revolutionary possibility beyond that of youth and theorizing utopia around networks of dependence and generational reciprocity.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    7 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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