The old, new, borrowed, and blue Newgate calendar
in The penny politics of Victorian popular fiction
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The chapter reviews the history of Newgate calendars, demonstrating that there are differences between editions of them that have not been adequately understood. The calendars in the 1830s and 1840s began to include numerous reports on riots, demonstrations, and apparent acts of sedition. They became increasingly politicised just as Chartism emerged. Yet the notorious way calendars would explicitly condemn rogues and rascals, but implicitly celebrate their courage or daring, continues with the representation of Chartists and their leaders, such as Feargus O’Connor. Though the admiration is qualified and sometimes muted, support for Chartists and their activities, for engagement and agitation, is palpable. In this way, the calendars made themselves available to an audience assumed to be interested in class and politics, an audience that enjoyed both popular crime and political innovation.


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