LeMire, Eugene D., ed. The Hollow Land.
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).
First printed in
The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine
,1856, in two parts: the first part in September and the
second part in October.