Radical Underworld

Radical Underworld : Prophets, Revolutionaries, and Pornographers in London, 1795-1840

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Description

This is a paperback edition of a highly acclaimed study of English popular radicalism during the period between the anti-Jacobin government `Terror' of the 1790s and the beginnings of Chartism. Challenging conventional distinctions between `high' and `low' culture, Iain McCalman brilliantly reveals the links between the political underworld and literary culture, poverty, crime, and prophetic religion.
Drawing on information from spy reports and contemporary literature, the book traces for the first time the history of the underground revolutionary-republican grouping founded by the agrarian reformer, Thomas Spence. Challenging conventional distinctions between 'high' and 'low' culture, McCalman illuminates the darker, more populist sides of Romanticism. His underworld of ideas links the Shelleys to pornographer-revolutionaries and political blackmailers, millenarian prophecy to discourses
of blasphemy, black revolution and saturnalian theatricality, and radical journalism to the Grub Street undergrowth of bawdy and pornography which sprang up in the opening years of Queen Victoria's reign.
Radical Underworld broadens the conventional boundaries of popular politics and culture by illuminating a political underworld connected with poverty, crime, prophetic religion and literary culture. It is a model of cultural history and a major re-evaluation of its topic.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 358 pages
  • 155 x 235 x 22mm | 601g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Revised ed.
  • halftones
  • 0198122861
  • 9780198122869
  • 1,127,646

Review quote

McCalman vividly evokes the milieu and culture which revolutionary artisans shared with the celebrated engraver-poet William Blake ... the radical mouthpieces of a rich, fascinating, and too little known underground radical culture of the world we have lost. Roy Porter, Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences Beautifully researched and crafted book ... It is a model for the cultural history of politics and popular movements. * American Historical Review * It is impossible to conceive of any scholar doing a more thorough job than McCalman has in uncovering the non-traditional by-ways of London radicalism ... Every aspect of popular culture becomes a potential source of enlightenment for McCalman as he leads the reader on an unpredictable, sometimes harrowing , journey through the radical underworld. * Joel H. Wiener, Journal of Modern History * [A] brilliant success * London Review of Books *
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