Radical Culture: Discourse, Resistance, and Surveillance, 1790-1829

Radical Culture: Discourse, Resistance, and Surveillance, 1790-1829

by David Worrall
     
 

England was a spy culture in the years 1790 through 1820. Restriction, regulation and surveillance formed the dominant discursive context. Ultra-radical artisans developed a discourse based on the revolutionary ideology of Thomas Spence which proposed the corporate ownership of land and the overthrow of the Government by physical force. The Spenceans were considered… See more details below

Overview

England was a spy culture in the years 1790 through 1820. Restriction, regulation and surveillance formed the dominant discursive context. Ultra-radical artisans developed a discourse based on the revolutionary ideology of Thomas Spence which proposed the corporate ownership of land and the overthrow of the Government by physical force. The Spenceans were considered the most radical of the political groups active during this period, with William Blake, Jeremy Bentham, and Percy Shelley the best known of those spied upon for suspected Spencean activities. This book outlines the battle between repressive sedition laws and the radicals whose weapon was the written and spoken word. David Worrall explores the discursive context of the campaigns against sedition in the 1790s, Colonel Despard's intended coup of 1802, the Spa Fields rising of 1816, the planned Bartholomew Fair insurrection of 1817 and the debacle of the 1820 Cato Street conspiracy. He recovers a lost artisan culture recorded by the spies, moles and informers who infiltrated the organizations, debating clubs and taverns where radical speakers called for violent revolution, examining for the first time the speeches, conversations, songs, poems, pamphlets, letters, handbills, trials, interrogations, and arrests which constituted the resistance to the Government's regulation of discourse. Radical Culture features a sympathetic portrait of these revolutionaries gleaned almost entirely from the records of the government spies who helped put them in jail. Worrall brings to life the ultra radicals, dramatizing what they said, how they reacted under extreme conditions of arrest or impending execution, and even how the Government hounded them in their last hours of life.

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England was a spy culture in the years 1790 through 1820. Worrall explores the discursive context of the time, characterizing the radicals who battled repressive sedition laws and developed a discourse (based upon the ideology of Thomas Spence) which proposed the corporate ownership of land and the overthrow of the government by physical force. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814324523
Publisher:
Wayne State University Press
Publication date:
10/01/1992
Pages:
246

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