Additional Book Information

Series: Notting Hill Editions
ISBN: 9781907903182
Pages: 224
Publication Date: March 7, 2017

From Notting Hill Editions

Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland

by Lavinia Greenlaw


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The great Victorian designer and decorative artist William Morris was fascinated by Iceland and wrote a book documenting his travels there. He gets caught up with questions of travel, noting his reaction to the idea of leaving or arriving, to hurry and delay, what it means to dread a place you’ve never been to or to encounter the actuality of a long-held vision. He is sensitive to the emotional landscape of his band of travelers and, above all, continuously analyzing and fixing this “most romantic of all deserts.”

Lavinia Greenlaw follows in his footsteps, and interposes his prose with her own “questions of travel.” The result is a new and composite work that brilliantly explores our conflicted reasons for not staying at home.

by Lavinia Greenlaw


What an original and haunting book! William Morris’s account of his journey through Iceland is touching, quick, vivid, often very funny, while Lavinia Greenlaw’s spare commentary acts as a kind of brilliant x-ray into the deep structures of travel itself. Combined, they form a work of strange and rare enchantment.
—James Lasdun

Morris’s journals...are precious and unique because they are so simply and beautifully written with the informed sense of wonder of a deeply learned and sophisticated man. No one except Ruskin has ever put the case for beauty with such vehemence and clarity.
—Ian McQueen, The Guardian

At a time of endless half-truths and moral shilly-shallying, Morris’s eccentric integrity shines out.
—Fiona McCarthy

Greenlaw has brilliantly found a new form for writing about Morris, and for this we can only be grateful.
—Tony Pinkney, William Morris Unbound Blog

The best book of travel written by an English poet is William Morris’s Icelandic Journal.
—Geoffrey Grigson