Gertha’s Lovers

William Morris

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Short story

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


This two-part story is by William Morris. Like many of the stories in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine, this tale takes place in the medieval period. The names in this story — Olaf, Sigurd, Gertha — link it with the other Nordic stories in the Magazine, such as Burne-Jones’s Story of the North and Morris’s Svend and his Brethren. The story is one of several that show the influence of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur.

The opening of “Gertha’s Lovers” — “Long ago there was a land, never mind where or when, a fair country and good to live in” — uses the conventions of the fairy tale. The story also has elements of the supernatural, such as the appearance of Olaf’s ghost (501) and the handmaiden’s vision in the last chapter (511). While many of the stories in the Magazine use the convention of dreams, this direct use of supernatural imagery is atypical.

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , 1856, in two parts: the first part in July and the second part in August.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Morris009.raw.xml