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William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones: Interlacings; The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History

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New books by Caroline Arscott and Mike Sanders return to the vexed problem of Marxism and aesthetics. For some time, there has been an intense suspicion of aesthetic thought in Marxist circles, where it is perceived as an ideology perpetrating a false resolution of contradictions. Arscott and Sanders understand aesthetics to be at the heart of the communist imagination: Arscott offers a detailed investigation of how the body is inhabited in the art of William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones; Sanders considers the figure of the poet in Chartism as a spur to radicalism. Engaging with these books, this review calls for a Marxist reconsideration of aesthetic thought and artistic practice.

Affiliations: 1: Open University


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