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Title: Thomas Spence and popular political print culture in the 1790s
Author: Downey, Edmund
ISNI:       0000 0004 7427 2631
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis considers the development of political print culture in the 1790s. The central concern of this study is the evaluation of political texts that were specifically designed and targeted towards a broad and popular readership. I consider with equal attention the work of both loyalists and radicals in the late eighteenth-century. Firstly, this thesis examines the works of Thomas Spence, who published the successful radical periodical One Pennyworth of Pigs' Meat; or, Lessons for the Swinish Multitude (1793-5). This was followed shortly by Daniel Isaac Eaton's periodical Hog's Wash, or a Salmagundy for Swine, later retitled Politics for the People (1793-5). These publishers adapted the format of the eighteenth century miscellany periodical for a popular audience in order to provide political news and opinion. I argue for the significance of both works towards our understanding of politics, print culture and the reading public in the 1790s. Lastly, I turn towards the publications of John Reeves and the Association for Preserving Liberty and Property against Republicans and Levellers (1792) and Hannah More's Cheap Repository Tracts (1795-1797). I argue that, in a similar fashion to Spence and Eaton, Reeves's loyalist 'Association' successfully adapted popular forms of publication in order to reach and influence a large audience. In particular, I argue for an appreciation of the culture of literary innovation fostered by the Association that complicates and improves our knowledge of loyalist writing in the 1790s. Finally, I consider the work of Hannah More and argue for the underappreciated influence of Spence on her popular political chapbook literature. Few critics have thoroughly investigated the overlap between loyalist and radical cultures, and the interchange of influence and networks between More and Spence has not been sufficiently examined. All the authors and texts considered in this study made important contributions to the definition of democracy in the 1790s. They were also influenced by democratic principles in their design, content and publication. They all, therefore, contributed to the expansion of the reading public and the development of popular political publications in 1790s.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available