Introduction
in Thomas Hood and nineteenth-century poetry
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This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book argues that looking closely at Thomas Hood illuminates three areas of nineteenth-century cultural production that modern scholarship has yet fully to explore: the output of the years 1824-40; comic poetry; and the grotesque. It explores Hood's early career at the London Magazine. The book focuses on Hood's remarkable pluralistic approach to words, texts, and readers, both as material entities and as imaginative projections. It considers the grotesque as a richly fruitful axis for understanding Hood's work across different genres. The book also considers Hood's puns, their effects, their detractors, and the cultural politics of punning in the nineteenth century. It examines the politics of Hood's play in relation to nineteenth-century debate about labour and leisure.

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