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Title: Portrayals of protest : G.W.M. Reynolds and the industrious classes
Author: Morgan, Jamie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7960 3233
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyses Reynolds's portrayal of protest by the industrious classes. It argues he provides a carefully thought out presentation that acknowledges the fragmented nature of this protest, from what the study terms its 'disreputable' and 'dangerous' aspects through to his favoured form designated as 'independent respectability'. This entails showing how he carries forward core elements from an earlier, moderate political outlook into a later one that embraced increasingly democratic and progressive views. The aim is to show how by retaining these earlier core values, despite many shifts and much manoeuvring, Reynolds manages to present a largely consistent perspective of protest. Above all, he displays 'independent respectability' as being a moral and psychological phenomenon that can extend from the individual who confronts the problems of everyday life to the struggle of the industrious masses who engage in questions of national interest. Central to the argument is that Reynolds's importance lay in offering an alternative to contemporaries who denied that protest espousing radical ambitions could be enacted peacefully or have positive results. In contrast, he proposes that when doing so, it embodied a rational, modern outlook, preparing the masses for any future, enhanced role in society. However, he carefully adapts this portrayal to a view of the English state that, with all its faults, he sees as markedly different to the Continental tyrannies. Consequently, the thesis rejects suggestions of Reynolds being a revolutionary writer while at the same time viewing accusations of his work being governed primarily by commercial concerns as providing only a partial explanation of its shortcomings. Furthermore, it recognizes that beneath a melodramatic veneer his portrayals, despite their limitations, offer pertinent observations upon the state of the industrious classes in mid-Victorian England and a useful avenue from which to examine the author himself.
Supervisor: Barton, Anna ; Smith, Andrew Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available