The Working-Class Intellectual in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain  book cover
1st Edition

The Working-Class Intellectual in Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Britain

ISBN 9781138261938
Published November 10, 2016 by Routledge
268 Pages

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Book Description

In Britain, the period that stretches from the middle of the eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century marks the emergence of the working classes, alongside and in response to the development of the middle-class public sphere. This collection contributes to that scholarship by exploring the figure of the "working-class intellectual," who both assimilates the anti-authoritarian lexicon of the middle classes to create a new political and cultural identity, and revolutionizes it with the subversive energy of class hostility. Through considering a broad range of writings across key moments of working-class self-expression, the essays reevaluate a host of familiar writers such as Robert Burns, John Thelwall, Charles Dickens, Charles Kingsley, Ann Yearsley, and even Shakespeare, in terms of their role within a working-class constituency. The collection also breaks fresh ground in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scholarship by shedding light on a number of unfamiliar and underrepresented figures, such as Alexander Somerville, Michael Faraday, and the singer Ned Corvan.

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction, Aruna Krishnamurthy; 'From threshing corn, he turns to thresh his brains': Stephen Duck as laboring-class intellectual, William J. Christmas; Protest and performance: Ann Yearsley's Poems on Several Occasions, Monica Smith Hart; 'Hoddin' grey an' a' that': Robert Burns's head, class hybridity and the value of the ploughman's mantle, Luke R.J. Maynard; Coffee-house vs. ale-house: notes on the making of the 18th-century working-class intellectual, Aruna Krishnamurthy; Genre in the Chartist periodical, Rob Breton; Shakespeare in the early working-class press, Kathryn Prince; Radical satire and respectability: comic imagination in Hone, Jerrold and Dickens, Sambudha Sen; 'The unaccredited hero': Alton Lock, Thomas Carlyle, and the formation of the working-class intellectual, Richard Salmon; Alexander Somerville's rise from serfdom: working-class self-fashioning through journalism, autobiography and political economy, Julie F. Codell; Politeness and intertextuality in Michael Faraday's artisan essay-circle, Alice Jenkins; Playing at poverty: the music hall and the staging of the working class, Ian Peddie; Index.

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Aruna Krishnamurthy is Assistant Professor of English at Fitchburg State College, USA.


'... living and working in the early twenty-first century, a period where race and gender attract a great deal of focus, it is good to see a serious and scholarly approach taken to the issues of class and intellectual productivity.' English Studies '... the volume contains many contributions that will be of general interest to scholars working within Victorian studies. In particular, scholars interested in the interchange between middle-class respectability and working-class radicalism will find much of interest in the essays by Salmon, Rob Breton, Sambudha Sen, Alice Jenkins, and Ian Peddie, as well as Krishnamurthy's second contribution. The collection indicates, furthermore, a new phase in the study of working-class literature is underway.' Victorian Studies