A groundbreaking fantasy novel, The Wood Beyond the World tells the story of a young man, Golden Walter, who finds himself in a strange and frightening world after being abandoned by his wife and lost at sea. The novel takes the form of Walter’s quest for the visionary Maid that he sees at the beginning of his journey, and takes him from his failed marriage through temptation to emotional fulfillment. Set in Morris’s imaginative recreation of a medieval world, the novel is full of vivid imagery and surprising emotional realism.
This edition collates for the first time the three early texts of the work. The introduction discusses the place of the book among Morris’s other prose romances, the events of his life, and his activities as a visual artist and a socialist. The appendices provide excerpts from Morris’s translation of Beowulf, other medieval texts read by Morris, and writings by his contemporaries on politics and aesthetics.
“Robert Boenig's meticulously edited, beautifully annotated edition of William Morris’s late prose romance, The Wood Beyond the World, will satisfy any teacher or reader wanting to learn more about Morris’s preoccupations at the end of his life. Boenig’s introduction alone makes the edition necessary reading. The supplementary materials, ranging from Morris’s work on a translation of Beowulf to his essay on ‘The Socialist Ideal: Art,’ and works by contemporaries such as Marx, Ruskin, and Mallock, expand richly the ways in which this edition may be used.” — Barry Qualls, Rutgers University
“The first new scholarly edition in thirty years, and an admirable achievement.” — Robert Clark, University of East Anglia