Material backgrounds
Print, dissent, and the social society
in Thomas Hood and nineteenth-century poetry
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Thomas Hood, with his quick eye for public signs and advertisements, instantly notes unintended coalescence between the most prosaic of building materials and the most ethereal of literary fabrics. His upbringing in a world of print makes Hood hyper-aware of the porousness of language and its susceptibility to plural readings within the marketplace of competing representations. Hood hailed from Dundee, which, having completed an apprenticeship to a bookseller. Both Hood and Charles Dickens stage incidents where one kind of writing is mistaken for another, with inflammatory results. Though Hood as an adult did not become a Glasite, his own principles echo palpably with the resonance of his dissenting heritage. After the end of his formal schooling, as an apprentice engraver with literary aspirations, Hood joined a local 'Social Literary Society' whose membership, he remembered, included Quakers and Methodists.

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