Writings of the Luddites

Overview

Named for their probably mythical leader, Ned Ludd, the Luddites were a group of social agitators in nineteenth-century Britain who tried to prevent the mechanization of cloth factories, which they blamed for increased unemployment, poverty, and hunger in industrial centers. Though famous for the often violent protests they organized, the Luddites also engaged in literary resistence in the form of poems, proclamations, petitions, songs, and letters. In this volume, literary scholar Kevin Binfield collects ...

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Overview

Named for their probably mythical leader, Ned Ludd, the Luddites were a group of social agitators in nineteenth-century Britain who tried to prevent the mechanization of cloth factories, which they blamed for increased unemployment, poverty, and hunger in industrial centers. Though famous for the often violent protests they organized, the Luddites also engaged in literary resistence in the form of poems, proclamations, petitions, songs, and letters. In this volume, literary scholar Kevin Binfield collects complete texts written by Luddites or Luddite sympathizers between 1811 and 1816, adds detailed notes, and organizes the documents by the three primary regions of origin: the Midlands, Northwestern England, and Yorkshire.

In an extensive introduction to the texts, Binfield provides a historical overview for those unfamiliar with the particulars of the Luddites and their activities, while also exploring their rhetorical strategies and illuminating their literary context. Written for the most part from a collective point of view, the writings range from judicious to bloodthirsty in tone and reveal a fascination both with legal forms of address and with the more personal forms of Romantic literature, as well as with the recent political revolutions in France and America. By bringing together diverse texts, the true meaning and value of Luddite writings can be analyzed and assessed. As such, this anthology, which features a foreword by Adrian Randall of the University of Birmingham, will be an ideal reference for scholars of rhetoric and the history of labor, technology and society.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Christianity Today - John Wilson

Think what I might have accomplished... if I hadn't had my nose buried in Writings of the Luddites.

Enterprise and Society - Marc W. Steinberg

This work shines not just as a collection on an important topic but more generally as an artisanal guide to the art and mystery of archival research.

Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography - Michael Austin

Kevin Binfield has collected more primary Luddite documents than have ever been published before, but he has also used his considerable skills... to contextualize each document.

Christianity Today
Think what I might have accomplished... if I hadn't had my nose buried in Writings of the Luddites.

— John Wilson

Modern Language Review

This very welcome book provides an introduction to the Midlands, Northwestern, and Yorkshire Luddism.

Enterprise and Society
This work shines not just as a collection on an important topic but more generally as an artisanal guide to the art and mystery of archival research.

— Marc W. Steinberg

Eighteenth-Century Current Bibliography
Kevin Binfield has collected more primary Luddite documents than have ever been published before, but he has also used his considerable skills... to contextualize each document.

— Michael Austin

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801876127
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Kevin Binfield is an associate professor of English at Murray State University.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

List of Documents vii
Foreword xiii
Preface xix
Note on Texts and Citation xxiii
Introduction 1
Midlands Luddism 19
Northwestern Luddism 32
Yorkshire Luddism 47
Midlands Documents 69
Northwestern Documents 167
Yorkshire Documents 199
Notes 239
Bibliography 267
Index 273
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