Working Class History
Posted by Captain Everett on February 03, 1998 at 23:28:24:
In response to Folks, this one's allowed, written by Caroline on February 03, 1998 at 16:37:14
Researching the life of the poor/working class is always a challenge for the student. First suggestion is to check the library for likely book that cover the Victorian Period. Sometimes references to the Regency period can be found, either in early chapters, or with a bit of sifting.
I quick check of my bookshelf revealed a few possibilities. Many are, however, at the university level (but an Austen fan shows a sign of reading ability). Some of the British publications may not be readily available in the United States.
The first work I might suggest is:
Philip A. Taylor, <1>The Industial Revolution in Britain: Triump or Disaster1> (DC Heath & Co., Lexington, MA, 1958), a collection of essays covering 1780-1840s, examing the change in living conditions amongs the working class.
Other interesting, but quite advanced works include:
Arthur Bryant, The Age of Elegance: 1812-22 (Pelican Books) covers social conditions in Ch. 10 and 11.
J.L. and Barbara Hammond, The Town Labourer: 1760-1832 (Doubleday & Co.) looks at the dislocation society experience with urbanizattion and industrialization. See esp. Ch 2, 6, 8 (cover child labour). The Hammond's also wrote The Village Labourer, although I haven't spotted a copy yet.
R.H. Tawney, Religion and the Rise of Captialism (Pelican Books), has little on daily life, but a very interesting investigation on how different groups reconciled their religous views to changing world.
Malcolm I Thomis, The Luddites (Schocken Books, NY, 1970) includes a good look into the causes of machine breaking.
E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class, is a rather heavy (my "pocketbook" sized edition has 944 pages of small type) investigation of the rise of working class. Living conditions are covered, but are interwoven into other strands of investigation. Note: Thompson's socialist bias is quite noticeable.
I hope some of these suggestions might help.
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