During the academic year 1912–13, Mark Hovell studied and taught at
Professor Karl Lamprecht’s Institut für Kultur- und
Universalgeschichte (Institute for Cultural and Universal History) in Leipzig.
During his time there, Hovell wrote regularly to his fiancée, Fanny
Gately, and to his mentor, Professor Thomas Tout. This article focuses on
several of Hovell’s letters held at the John Rylands Library, presenting
his thoughts and observations on aspects of social, political and academic life
in Germany shortly before the outbreak of the First World War.
In the early years of the twentieth century, Professor Karl Lamprecht was a
powerful and controversial figure in German academia, offering a universal
interpretation of history that drew on an eclectic mix of politics, economics,
anthropology and psychology. This article explores Mark Hovell’s
experiences of working with Lamprecht at the Institut für Kultur- und
Universalgeschichte [Institute for Cultural and Universal History] in Leipzig
between 1912 and 1913, while also situating Hovell’s criticisms of the
Lamprechtian method within wider contemporary assessments of Lamprecht’s
This article provides the first detailed account of Mark Hovell’s
The Chartist Movement, focusing on the overall achievement of
the work as published in 1918, contemporary reactions to the circumstances of
its production, and the ways in which Hovell’s research cemented
twentieth-century dominant narratives around the rise and fall of Chartism. The
article also offers a counterfactual evaluation of Hovell’s manuscript,
focusing on the probable direction of his vision of Chartism, and suggesting how
the work completed by Hovell (had he lived) might have looked compared with the
version eventually produced by Tout.
Chartist historiography is inevitably inflected by the political desires of its
authors. This desire, combined with the contingent nature of history, imparts a
fictive dimension to Chartist historiography. In support of these claims, this
article applies the literary concepts of plot and character to Mark
Hovell’s The Chartist Movement (1918). It argues that
Hovell’s political desire leads him to construct a tragic and entropic
plot for Chartism, which is often contradicted by his own assessment of the
movement’s vitality. Similarly, Hovell’s plotting is also driven
by his reading of Chartism as a conflict between two characters, a flawed hero
(Lovett) and a villain (O’Connor). The article closes with a close
reading of Hovell’s characterisation of O’Connor, which
demonstrates the skill with which he interweaves fact and interpretation.
J.R. Stephens and the prophetic politics of the heart
. There was
more to his cultural stylistics than Romanticism and melodrama; in
contrast to Oastler, Stephens was a much less recognisably Gothic
figure. 7 The early
twentieth-century historian of Chartism MarkHovell tellingly wrote of
Stephens’s ‘unreasoning sentimentalism’, a
judgement that placed Hovell in the proto-Fabian tradition begun by
Francis Place which damned
Chartist movement (New York, 1916); MarkHovell, The Chartist
movement (Manchester, 1918).
‘A new order of things’
23 E. F. Biagini and A. J. Reid (eds), Currents of radicalism: popular radicalism,
organised labour and party politics in Britain, 1850–1914 (Cambridge,
1991); Eugenio Biagini, Liberty, retrenchment and reform: popular liberalism in the age of Gladstone, 1860–1880 (Cambridge, 1992).
24 Philip Harling, ‘Equipoise regained? Recent trends in British political
history, 1790–1867’, Journal of Modern History, 75:4 (2003), 901.
25 Paul Pickering and Alex
The politics of consumption in England during the ‘Hungry Forties’
, Past and present (1843; 1897), p. 228.
4 Northern Star, 20 October 1838, p. 7. For similar views, see MarkHovell, The Chartist movement (1918; Manchester, 1966), p. 118;
Theodore Rothstein, From Chartism to Labourism (1929), p. 50;
‘Rejoicing in potatoes’
G. D. H. Cole, Chartist portraits (1941), pp. 1–2, 74; W. W. Rostow,
British economy of the nineteenth century (Oxford, 1948), pp. 122–
5. Gammage, the movement’s first historian, had a more nuanced
understanding of the relationship between want and politics. See
R. G. Gammage, The
class (Berkeley, 1995).
‘Consumers of their own productions’
Northern Star, 3 August 1839, p. 4.
Leeds Mercury, 10 August 1839, p. 8.
Discussed by Stedman Jones, ‘The language of Chartism’, pp. 26–30.
Northern Star, 22 June 1839, p. 7.
Ibid., 25 January 1840, p. 4.
Odd Fellow, 3 August 1839, p. 122.
MarkHovell, The Chartist movement (Manchester, 1966), pp. 148–9;
Morning Chronicle, 5 July 1839, p. 4.
Northern Liberator, 6 July 1839, p. 2.
Northern Star, 6 July 1839, p. 1.
Taylor was still arguing for
and the Moral Radical Party in Early Victorian Britain (London,
1987); MarkHovell, The Chartist Movement (Manchester, 1918), pp. 243–44.
5 Northern Star, 8 May 1842.
6 Chase, Chartism, pp. 201–7.
7 McDouall’s Chartist and Republican Journal, 24 July 1841.
8 Non-Conformist, 3 May 1842.
9 Frank O’Gorman, ‘Campaign Rituals and Ceremonies: The Social Meaning
of Elections in England 1780–
1860’ Past and Present 135:1 (1992),
pp. 79–115, Voters, Patrons and Parties: The Unreformed Electorate of Hanoverian
England, 1734–1832 (Oxford, 1989).
10 Thomas Beggs