William Morris's News from Nowhere


William Morris’s utopian novel News from Nowhere was written in 1890. Morris imagines a future in which common ownership and democratic control of the production of life’s necessities are based in a pastoral paradise. The story is narrated in the first person by a man who wakes on the banks of the Thames, transported centuries into the future. In this transformed land, there is no private property, no industrialisation, no money, no capitalist system. All members of society work co-operatively and take pleasure in their labour. Reluctantly, the narrator returns to his own time, resolved to make this future a reality. 

How does News from Nowhere relate to H G Wells's The Time Machine

H G Wells knew Morris slightly, and in his autobiography (1934) writes about visiting Morris’s house in Hammersmith, where the socialists held meetings – Wells too was a socialist and writes of wearing a red tie to show his affiliation. 

Morris’s utopian view of the future is classless, and thus contrasts distinctly with H G Wells’s view, as expressed in The Time Machine, in which the relationship between the Morlocks and the Eloi is one of fear and dependency. While maintaining some gender-based roles for women, Morris’s society is free from the restraints of education in childhood, the nuclear family, and the burden of possessions. 

Ten years after The Time Machine, Wells wrote the first of his utopian novels A Modern Utopia, which describes an alternative world history; later utopian novels In the Days of the Comet (1906) and The Shape of Things to Come (1933) are based on the premise of the aversion of catastrophe.

Full title:
News from Nowhere
1890, London
William Morris
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library

Related articles

Class in The Time Machine

Article by:
Matthew Taunton
Poverty and the working classes, Visions of the future, Fin de siècle

Dr Matthew Taunton reveals how The Time Machine reflects H G Wells’s fascination with class division, the effects of capitalism and the evolution of the human race.

Victorian utopias

Article by:
Marcus Waithe
Visions of the future

The nature of the ideal society has occupied philosophers and writers for millennia. Here Dr Marcus Waithe considers how Victorian writers such as H G Wells, William Morris and Edward Bulwer-Lytton re-imagined their own society and envisaged utopian futures.

Where the grass is greener: the dream of utopia

Article by:
Mike Ashley
Visions of the future

Mike Ashley describes how 20th-century writers dreamed up new and better worlds in their fiction – while at the same time confronting the likelihood that no imagined world, however good, could suit everyone.

Related collection items

Related works

The Time Machine

Created by: H G Wells

A scientific romance by H G Wells (1866-1946), published in 1895. Wells had part of a serial ...