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Essays in popular romance
Editor: Nicola McDonald

This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.

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Melodrama and Tory socialism
Deborah Mutch

polarizing worldview, melodramas signify goodness in the suffering of victims, and signify evil in the cruelty of antagonists. … [I]ndividual characters are often the metonymic substitute for economic or social classes. (Anker, 2012: 136) The clash between Diana and Connie as the ‘metonymic substitutes’ for, respectively, the landed aristocracy and the working classes depicts not only the imbalance of power but also the left-wing and melodramatic stereotypes of the aristocracy as ‘bad’ and the working-class as ‘good’. Diana is not simply the villainous aristocrat flexing

in Margaret Harkness
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Hidden in plain sight
Andrew Hadfield

The history of class struggle ‘The history of all hitherto existing societies is the history of class struggle.’  26 These words, surely the most famous about social class, open The Communist Manifesto (1848), the most influential work on class and class struggle in history. 27 The Manifesto has shaped how people have imagined class, both those who have accepted its broad-brush outline of history, as well as those hostile to its analysis, and

in Literature and class
Brutishness, discrimination and the lower-class wolf-man from The Wolf Man to True Blood
Victoria Amador

, foreigners – who must be dispatched to restored order; they can never assimilate. That social class shift in the werewolf persona, from gentleman victim to low-status monster, has continued in many popular media depictions of the creature ever since The Wolf Man . This chapter will explore this lesser position of the werewolf by first briefly examining that seminal film. Then, in an effort to contextualise the personification of the werewolf as la bête rather than a beauty, I draw briefly on texts from the seventeenth century through the Victorian

in In the company of wolves
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Pasts at play
Rachel Bryant Davies and Barbara Gribling

-overlooked archival material can reveal intersections between children's culture and history. This game is a convenient single artefact that expresses how children's everyday experiences of juxtaposed pasts were made relevant to their present. As an expensive commodity, it only offers one perspective: the elite home schoolroom of early nineteenth-century Britain. Yet, as the chapters in this volume reveal, multiple pasts were often experienced simultaneously in different ways and through different media, by boys and girls across the social classes and throughout the long

in Pasts at play
Tattooing, primitivism, class and criminality
Matt Oches

signify social standing. As Vanessa Smith states, Edward Christian ‘sees a natural aristocracy as uniting Christian with the Tahitian noble savage’ ( 2010 : 260). This naturalised connection becomes specular and indelible through the cultural practice of tattooing. An implicit acceptance of class divisions partially structured the form of primitivism that led many members of the Bounty to be tattooed, as well as the different designs they received. Two types of primitivist identification based on social class can be discerned in the tattooing

in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
Robert Lanier Reid

ambition, Antony’s glib manipulations – is indicated not only by the universal admiration for Brutus (from conspirators, from his wife and servants, from military colleagues and opponents) but also by the respect he shows to others of every social class, notably in the tender regard for his servant Lucius and for the soldier who assists Brutus in his suicide

in Renaissance psychologies
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Childhood encounters with history in British culture, 1750–1914

Pasts at play examines nineteenth-century children as active consumers of a variety of British pasts, from the biblical and classical to the medieval and early modern. This interdisciplinary collection bridges different disciplinary approaches to chart shifting markets for historical education between 1750 and 1914: a critical period in the development of children's culture, as children became target consumers for publishers. Boys and girls across the social classes often experienced different pasts simultaneously for the purpose of amusement and instruction.

Play provides a dynamic lens through which to explore children’s interaction with the past as a didactic vehicle. Encompassing the past as both subject and site for production and consumption of earlier pasts (historical, mythical or imagined), each contributor reconstructs children’s encounters with different media to uncover the cultural work of individual pasts and exposes the key role of playfulness in the British historical imagination.

These ten essays argue that only through exploring the variety of media and different pasts marketed to children can we fully understand the scope of children’s interactions with the past. Sources, from games to guidebooks and puzzles to pageants, represent the range of visual, performative, material and textual cultures analysed here to develop fresh methodologies and new perspectives on children’s culture and the uses of the past.

Bringing together scholars from across a range of disciplines, including Classics, English and History, this volume is for researchers and students interested in the afterlives of the past, the history of education, and child consumerism and interaction.

From the Peasants' Revolt to the French Revolution
Author: Andrew Hadfield

This book explores the intimate relationship between literature and class in England (and later Britain) from the Peasants’ Revolt at the end of the fourteenth century to the impact of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth. It demonstrates how literary texts are determined by class relations and how they represent the interaction of classes in profound and apparently trivial ways. The book argues throughout that class cannot be seen as a modern phenomenon that occurred after the Industrial Revolution but that class divisions and relations have always structured societies and that it makes sense to assume a historical continuity. The book explores a number of themes relating to class: class consciousness; class conflict; commercialization; servitude; the relationship between agrarian and urban society; rebellion; gender relations; and colonization. After outlining the history of class relations in England and, after the union of 1707, Scotland, five chapters explore the ways in which social class consciously and unconsciously influenced a series of writers including Geoffrey Chaucer, William Langland, Edmund Spenser, William Shakespeare, John Taylor, Robert Herrick, Aphra Behn, John Wilmot, earl of Rochester, Daniel Defoe, Stephen Duck, Mary Collier, Frances Burney, Robert Burns, William Blake and William Wordsworth. The book concludes with Percy Bysshe Shelley’s An Address to the Irish People (1812), pointing to the need to explore class relations in the context of the British Isles and Ireland, as well as the British Empire, which a future work will analyse.

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Gavin Edwards

Dickens’s increasing preoccupation with kinds and degrees of illiteracy allows him to foreground the relationship between language seen and language heard. His professional Readings, starting in 1858, were taken almost exclusively from his earlier, more readily audible work, while typographic case and other specifically visual aspects of language, are increasingly important in the later novels both as topics and as features of the text which may find the transition from handwriting to print and from print into speech difficult. In Bleak House, Jo the crossing sweeper wants his message to the world written ‘large’ because he deduces from ‘the great letters on the whitewashed wall’ – represented for us as ‘GEORGE’S SHOOTING GALLERY, ETC’ – that the size of letters carries meaning and helps meaning carry Betty Higdon, who says she is ‘not much of a hand at reading writing-hand, though I can read my Bible and most print’ tells the illiterate Mrs Boffin that young Sloppy ‘is a beautiful reader of a newspaper. He do the Police in different voices’. Dickens’s novels increasingly define themselves as designed primarily for readers rather than listeners, while social class is increasingly defined in terms of degrees literacy.

in The Case of the Initial Letter