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Title: A cultural history of Wiltshire, 1750-1800
Author: Driscoll, P. M.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis constructs the first integrated cultural history of a county as a unit for the eighteenth century. Surveying a diversity of environments, urban and rural, this study emphasises the variety of cultural activities and contexts within a single English county. Such a detailed study of a whole county – not just major towns – brings geography to the fore, recognising the importance of not only ‘natural’, but also human, geography – in the form of communications networks, urban planning, and local economies – in shaping provincial cultural life in the eighteenth century. The thesis mines a rich seam of source material including local newspapers, books, diaries and correspondence to explore five central aspects of Wiltshire’s cultural life. Each of the chapters – on religion, sociability, sport, the theatre, and music – reveals important details of English provincial life, from religious, social, and economic imperatives to leisure pursuits and pastimes. Together, the chapters form a detailed case study of Wiltshire’s own cultural life and the provincial county’s relations with regional, national, and metropolitan social and cultural influences. Because of its breadth of focus and the diversity of its sample, this thesis creates a body of material that is used to analyse key themes in the historiography of eighteenth-century society and culture. The thesis thus employs its empirical geographical basis to interrogate concepts and models such as class, commercialisation, politeness and the urban renaissance, and to evaluate the way these developments played themselves out on the ground in Wiltshire. The county history therefore not only extends historians’ knowledge of local provincial culture and society, but contributes to an understanding of eighteenth-century English culture at large.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available