William Morris takes the insights into industrial capitalism offered by the tradition whose major figures are Carlyle and Ruskin and gives them coherence through his theoretical understanding of Marxism and saves them from impotent hysteria by his persistent involvement in political action. Morris's formal experiments of the 1880s demonstrate a concern to create a historically possible revolutionary literature, and this involves a creative programme which goes in a different direction from those of such writers as Gissing, Hardy and James. Morris's whole literary effort in the eighties is to affirm the reality of the revolutionary mind and to see it in possible fields of action. The historicism is informed by two firmly grasped concepts which are the basis of all Morris's socialist writing - the class struggle and its historical consummation, revolutionary change. Morris's use of the earthly hell metaphor suggests how sensitive he is to the social pessimism arrived at by his most intelligent contemporary writers.