"John Berger...is one of the world’s most vital corresponders" - Ali Smith
As leading radical writer on art John Berger celebrates his 90th birthday this week, he brings a lifetime's engagement with the ideas, artists, and thinkers that have shaped his thinking: Walter Benjamin, Rosa Luxemburg and Bertolt Brecht among them.
To celebrate this milestone we have 40% off all his books until November 9th. See also: our John Berger giveaway competition (with Zed Books and Penguin books) and John Berger at 90: The Verso podcast in collaboration with the London Review Bookshop.
Here we publish the text of a speech given by Ali Smith last year at the British Library, at an event to launch Portraits: John Berger on Art, in honour of his contribution to art and politics.
What has become of William Morris the socialist, the author of one of the finest works of utopian political fiction, and the founder of the Socialist League? How can we wrest him away from the image of him as the "intellectually disorganised artist beloved by the heritage industry"? In this essay on Kristin Ross's Communal Luxury, Matthew Beaumont analyses Ross's attempt to rescue Morris for the present, and for the task of liberation.
This article first appeared in The Journal of William Morris Studies, 21.4 (2016), where it formed part of a symposium-in-print on Kristin Ross's Communal Luxury. Back issues can be purchased here. A chronological index of the Journal is available online.