The Hollow Land

William Morris

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Short story


◦ LeMire, Eugene D., ed. The Hollow Land.

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


This story is the most sophisticated of William Morris’s stories in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine. The first two chapters, published in September, are similar to earlier stories, such as “Gertha’s Lovers” and “Svend and his Brethren”. Each of these stories has a medieval setting, and focuses on family lineage and knightly heroism. “The Hollow Land”, however, adds a moral ambiguity absent from the earlier stories: the narrator asks, “Had our house been the devil’s servants all along? I thought we were God’s servants.” (573). In the second part, published in October, Morris takes the story in a different direction as the narrator travels into “the hollow land,” a sort of purgatory. The closing chapters question divine judgment, redemption, and the power of art.

Like many of the stories in the Magazine, “The Hollow Land” shows the clear influence of Malory’s Morte d’Arthur , especially in the vocabulary Morris uses: words such as “undern” and “flatlings” give the story an archaic tone, one not achieved in Morris’s other tales in the Magazine.

When Sydney Cockerell and Robert Proctor edited Morris's contributions to The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine for republication, they used this story as the title of the collection, The Hollow Land and Other Contributions to The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine (LeMire).

Printing History

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

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Morris015.raw.xml