The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes Second Edition Jonathan Rose

Format:
Paperback
Publication date:
15 Apr 2010
ISBN:
9780300153651
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
544 pages: 235 x 156mm
Sales territories:
world

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.

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.

“Rose’s book . . . which has the great virtues of clarity, wit and pungent opinion . . . is a brilliant and often moving record of what was achieved—a history, in its way, of discover, of individual lives enhanced by the desire to know more and to know differently. . . . it deserves its place alongside Richard Hoggart and Martin Weiner—alongside the writers who have yielded important new insights into our cultural ancestry and who shed light on ourselves.”—Ian Jack, Daily Telegraph


“It is an astonishing book.”—Ian Sansom, Guardian


“By combing 200 years of unexplored memoirs and surveys of the lower classes, Mr. Rose shows that there was a time when the most elite and difficult works of the Western tradition inspired neither snobbery nor shame. . . . The details uncovered by Mr. Rose are startling.”—Edward Rothstein, New York Times


“[A] magnificent book. . . . a work of truly human imagination. . . . deeply inspiring. . . . should be read with minute attention . . . by anyone with an interest in the future of our civilization.”—Anthony Daniels, Sunday Telegraph


“[R]ich and heartening. . . . This book is vast in scope and absorbing in every detail. As you read it, the air fills with the voices of the long unheard.”—John Carey, Sunday Times


"Using a range of sources, from memoirs to library registers and archives, Rose has created a portrait of working class self-education that is humbling and unforgettable."—Nick Rennison, Sunday Times


“In this sharply original book, Jonathan Rose shows how launderesses, farm labourers, docker and domestic servants fashioned an intellectual life for themselves in circumstances that were far from ideal. Drawing on letters, diaries and unpublished memoirs of unremembered Victorians, Mr. Rose rediscovers a tradition of self-education which recent academic cultural criticism has tended to devalue.”—The Economist


"Fascinating. . . . [Rose] shines a bold new light on working-class politics, ideology, popular culture and the life of the mind."—Sally Cousins, The Sunday Telegraph


[A] passionate work. . . of staggering ambition. [Those] who care about literature, democracy and equality can rejoice.


“This wonderful book splendidly recaptures the reading experience of the British working classes.”—Choice


“This fascinating book will undoubtedly become the standard work on the subject.”—Phillip McCann, History of Education


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


“This pioneering work provides the basis, not only for further historical research, but also for examining many of the contemporary educational and cultural issues which Rose addresses.”—Alan Morrison, History Today


“A tour de force, social history at its best.”—Matthew Price, In These Times


“Rose’s account represents a historical triumph . . . fascinatingly and passionately told.”—A. C. Grayling, Independent on Sunday


“An important book.”—Phillip Waller, Journal of Modern History


“An electric read, and a hopeful one.”—Eugene Weber, Key Reporter


“A brilliantly readable work which exposes the lie behind the word elitism—the patronising notion that works of great literature, art or music are irrelevant to the lives of ordinary people.”—London Daily Mail (Books of the year)


“The real subject of [Rose’s] book is . . . the reeading habits of the autodidact tradition within the British industrial working class from the early 19th century to the mid 20th. It’s still a big and underexplored subject, and the results of his enterprising research make fascinating reading.”—Stefan Collini, London Review of Books


“A superb book . . . much more comprehensive than anything by Raymond Williams or Richard Hoggart, and bears comparison with the best work of Edward Thompson and the late Raphael Samuel. I found the experience of immersion in it to be lastingly moving—like reading the poetry of John Clare, say, or Thomas Gray.”—Christopher Hitchens, London Times


“This is an incomparable book: scholarly to a scruple; majestic in its 100-year reach; ardent in its reaffirmation of faith and what good books, splendid music and fine art may do to turn a people’s history into a long revolution on behalf of liberty, equality and truth.”—Fred Inglis, Saturday Independent


"Magnificent. . . . Universally, and rightly, lauded in hardback, Rose’s panoramic and moving history of the autodidact tradition illuminates a vanished past."—The Independent Magazine


“This book is a treasure chest, and deserves pride of place in any decent ideological library.”—The Oldie


“Rose has written a book which is a simple pleasure to read. It could be read and enjoyed by any literate adult with a modicum of curiosity. The essential pleasure of the book lies in its style. Rose writes in a cheerful and friendly manner, without jargon or cumbersome theory. The book is full of ideas. . . . Roses’s book is a thoroughly fascinating source of history, anecdote, argument and, above all, hope.”—Alan Dent, The Penniless Press


"Jonathan Rose's splendid book on the British working-classes' intellectual life makes a magisterial contribution to educational history. . . . The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes is both a joy and pleasure to read. I cannot recommend it too highly."—David Levine, Journal of Social History


Co-winner the Longman-History Today 'Book of the Year' Prize for 2001


Winner of the 2002 Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, Book History Prize


Winner of the American Philosophical Society’s Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History for 2001


Winner of the 2002 Humanities Book Award sponsored by the New Jersey Council for the Humanities


Longlisted for the 2001 Samuel Johnson Prize