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From the Peasants' Revolt to the French Revolution
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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.

Andrew Hadfield

There may not have been an obvious language for class relations and class consciousness in the sixteenth century, but Sir Thomas Smith's De Republica Anglorum (written in the 1560s, published in 1583) has an elaborate taxonomy of social ranks from those born to govern down to those who cannot rule ‘and yet they be not altogether neglected’. Smith's work surely suggests that thinking of socio-economic groups which had common interests was not beyond the bounds of early modern thinkers. 1

in Literature and class
Abstract only
Ruvani Ranasinha

; their manifestation in book form is, you feel, but a momentary inconvenience, a brief pit-stop on course toward greater glories.’  104 In 1993 Byatt observed that ‘judges can only make a guess about promise’. Thirty years on, the talent and staying power of the class of 1993 speaks for itself. The Buddha of Suburbia is still read and studied. Yet within this literary controversy, some backlash directed at Kureishi and the suspicion that the Whitbread judges had rated Buddha 's novelty and politics higher than its

in Hanif Kureishi
Andrew Hadfield

, and biddeth Peres Ploughman go to his wereke , and chastise welle Hobbe the Robbere, and taketh with you Johan Trewman, and alle his felawes… [emphasis added]. 5 There was a long tradition of political literature in English and Latin and a large number of poems criticized the apparent ineptitude and self-serving nature of the upper classes, many writers perhaps conscious that ‘A new audience was

in Literature and class
Brian Cliff

In examining the ambivalent qualities of Deirdre Madden’s One by One in the Darkness , this chapter addresses two key elements of the novel: the depiction of class and the narrative investment less in a single event than in that event’s multiple after-effects. The novel’s quiet representation of class opens up a variety of perspectives

in Deirdre Madden
Charlie Bondhus

In Ann Radcliffes The Mysteries of Udolpho and The Italian, the sublime in nature represents a benevolent patriarchy which works in tandem with ‘the heightened awareness’ that characterizes sensibility in order to educate and empower Emily St Aubert and Ellena di Rosalba. Both of these forces work symbiotically within the gazes (read ‘spectatorship’) of the heroines. Conversely, these forces are threatening to the heroes, in that they limit Valancourts and Vivaldis ability to gain their desires and to influence the events surrounding their beloveds. This gender-based disparity reflects eighteenth century familial politics and suggests that, despite Radcliffes apparent protofeminism in giving her heroines agency over the patriarchal weapons of the sublime and sensibility, her reinventing these forces to empower her heroines at the expense of the heroes actually buys into and supports patriarchal ideals of the roles of difference and sameness in heterosexual desire.

Gothic Studies
Andrew Hadfield

mutating to a mixed economy based more on the exchange of money. As Paul Freedman has pointed out, the agrarian economy was much more complicated and diverse than was once envisaged and peasants did not simply work under a manorial system (although that system did dominate the economy), but often served a number of landlords (hence the need for a monetary economy); they held different amounts of land and, therefore, did not constitute a straightforwardly homogeneous social group. 9 Classes higher up the social scale were

in Literature and class
Sonja Boon

In this article I use conceptual frames drawn from autobiography studies and feminist theory to examine the relationships between bodily experience and the social construction of sex, gender and class as they play themselves out in a selection of womens medical consultation letters written to the eminent Swiss physician, Samuel-Auguste Tissot, during the second half of the eighteenth century. My analysis of a selection of consultation letters - all of which are situated and read in the context of a rich archival collection of some 1,200 letters - considers the role that bodily experience plays in the construction of self and suggests that not only the experience, but also the textual articulation of the body, were imagined both through and against accepted understandings of sex, gender and class during this period.

Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
Sam George

. (lines 37–46) Rebellion, then, is rife; vegetables openly consort with those of other tribes and refuse to honour their proper place in the plant kingdom; the ‘Vagabond Fungus’ is treading ‘on the toes of his highness the oak’ (lines 50–1). The poem then conflates class disorder with sexual instability; this aspect of the poem will be analysed in

in Botany, sexuality and women’s writing 1760–1830