Rethinking the Age of Reform: Britain, 1780-1850

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Combining the research of recognized young scholars, this book revisits Britain's much-studied "age of reform", before and after the Great Reform Act of 1832. It demonstrates that "reformers" hoped to reform not only parliament, government, the law and the church, but also medicine and the theater, among other entities. While the study focuses primarily on Britain, it also includes essays on Ireland, the Empire and continental Europe. A substantial introduction provides an overview of the period and its historiography.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a deeply interesting collection of studies." The Journal of Social, Political and Economic Studies

"In all, Rethinking the Age of Reform is an important work, one which stresses the pervasiveness and diversity of reform." Journal of Social History, Reform and Scoial Change

"...the book seems to be as much about redefining and reconceptualising as 'rethinking' the period. Not the least of its services is in challenging preconceived ideas about the age of reform and stimulating further thought and reflection...In fact, it provides an important addition to the literature of the period and is a model for all collections of this kind." Albion, Richard A. Gaunt

"As a body of work, the volume celarly presents a wide array of outstanding research. These articles demonstrate, without question that as a means to change, improve, correct and aspire to new political, institutional, social and cultural practices, the age of reform in Great Britain was varied, omnipresent, and a significant model for other nations and societies." Journal of Modern History Nancy LoPatin-Lummis, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521823944
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2003
  • Series: Past and Present Publications Series
  • Pages: 364
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Arthur Burns is Senior Lecturer in History, King's College London.

Joanna Innes is Fellow and Tutor in Modern History, Somerville College, Oxford, and Lecturer in Modern History, University of Oxford.

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Table of Contents

Notes on contributors; Preface; List of abbreviations; 1. Introduction Joanna Innes and Arthur Burns; 2. 'Reform' in English public life: the fortunes of a word Joanna Innes; 3. Parliament, the state and 'old corruption': conceptualising reform, c. 1790–1832 Philip Harling; 4. 'Old wine in new bottles': the concept and practice of law reform, c. 1780–1830 Michael Lobban; 5. English 'church reform' revisited, 1780–1840 Arthur Burns; 6. Medicine in the age of reform Ian A. Burney; 7. British antislavery reassessed David Turley; 8. 'The age of physiological reformers': rethinking gender and domesticity in the age of reform Kathryn Gleadle; 9. Reforming the aristocracy: opera and elite culture, 1780–1860 Jennifer L. Hall-Witt; 10. Reform on the London stage Katherine Newey; 11. Reforming culture: national art institutions in the age of reform Holger Hoock; 12. Irish reform between the 1798 Rebellion and the Great Famine Jennifer Ridden; 12. Empire and parliamentary reform: the 1832 Reform Act revisited Miles Taylor; 14. Reforms, movements for reform and possibilities of reform: comparing Britain and continental Europe Jonathan Sperber; Index.

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