The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes / Edition 2

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Now in its second edition, this landmark book provides an intellectual history of the British working classes from the preindustrial era to the twentieth century. Drawing on workers’ memoirs, social surveys, library registers, and more, Jonathan Rose discovers which books people read, how they educated themselves, and what they knew. A new preface uncovers the author’s journey into labor history, and its rewarding link to intellectual history.

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Editorial Reviews

The Week - Julia Jones
“Wherever possible, this brilliant piece of social history allows individuals from within the masses to speak out for themselves.” - Julia Jones, This Week
The Week

“Wherever possible, this brilliant piece of social history allows individuals from within the masses to speak out for themselves.” - Julia Jones, This Week

— Julia Jones

Ian Jack
...[a] rich, invigorating account... [it] has the great virtues of clarity, wit and pungent opinion. It may be a cultural study, but it is the opposite of what the phrase "cultural studies" has come, discouragingly, to mean... It deserves its place alongside Richard Hoggart and Martin Wiener—alongside the writers who have yielded important new insights into our cultural ancestry and who shed light on ourselves.
The Daily Telegraph (London)
Books & Culture - Timothy Larsen
"It is my earnest wish that everyone would find some book out of which they would derive as much pleasure as I have done in reading The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes."—Timothy Larsen, Books & Culture
Wall Street Journal - Daniel Akst
“[E]ven the weariest cultural warrior will have to make room for Jonathan Rose’s Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes. . . . a passionate work of history that brings alive the forgotten people on whose behalf so much academic hot air is routinely expended.”—Daniel Akst, Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300153651
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 7/20/2010
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 544
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Rose is the founder and past president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing and coeditor of the journal Book History. He is professor of history at Drew University, where he directs the graduate program in book history.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables
A Preface to a History of Audiences 1
Ch. 1 A Desire for Singularity 12
Ch. 2 Mutual Improvement 58
Ch. 3 The Difference Between Fact and Fiction 92
Ch. 4 A Conservative Canon 116
Ch. 5 Willingly to School 146
Ch. 6 Cultural Literacy in the Classic Slum 187
Ch. 7 The Welsh Miners' Libraries 237
Ch. 8 The Whole Contention Concerning the Workers' Educational Association 256
Ch. 9 Alienation from Marxism 298
Ch. 10 The World Unvisited 321
Ch. 11 A Mongrel Library 365
Ch. 12 What Was Leonard Bast Really Like? 393
Ch. 13 Down and Out in Bloomsbury 439
Notes 465
Index 518
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