The first step toward the characteristic large-scale fantasies which have had such influence on the genre ...is The House of the Wolfings. Here the setting is quasi-historical: a European Saxon community is resisting the decadent advances of late Imperial Rome. The romantic-supernatural story contains a large admixture of verse. Indeed, Morris's chief contribution to the book is his beautiful prose and poetry, for his version of the story is actually a collaboration with Norse scholar Eirikr Magnusson, who provided a literal translation of the original text, which Morris then reset as prose and poetry. J.R.R. Tolkien wrote of its influence on Lord of the Rings that, "The Dead Marshes and the approaches to the Morannon owe ... more to William Morris and his Huns and Romans, as in The House of the Wolfings or The Roots of the Mountains."
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About the Author
William Morris (1834 - 1896) was an English textile designer, poet, novelist, translator and socialist activist. Associated with the British Arts and Crafts Movement, he was a major contributor to the revival of traditional British textile arts and methods of production. His literary contributions helped to establish the modern fantasy genre, while he played a significant role in propagating the early socialist movement in Britain. --Wikipedia
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