ePub Engels, Manchester, and the Working Class ePub

by Steven Marcus

I love Manchester for its simultaneously dazzling and dreary history, so I was excited to read about its makeup and character at that time.At the time of writing “The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844”, 64% of Manchester was working class, 74% of Salford was, and outlying communities were 90% working class.I love histories of pestilent, grimy England during this period, which I got a little of with this book, but not a lot.The Poor Law Reform Act of 1834 created the workhouse.Handlooms came out of the domestic space and became industrial nightmares.Factory owners claimed that the workers liked the intense heat created by the friction of the looms.Prior to Engels’ great study, writers such as Carlyle, Disraeli, and sadly even Dickens, wrote about the wonder of the factories and the looms is mythmaking or mystical terms, with scant cognition of the poor health of the girls working in them.Indeed, until the middle class had a firmer grasp on what conditions were actually like, there would be no way to help the working class.After “Condition of the Working Class” writers such as George Eliot, Elizabeth Gaskell, and Dickens’ later works dealt with the various strata of society more realistically.Manchester was then described as a spider with legs and web stretching outward to the cities and town beyond, or as the chimney of the world, or as a sewer spewing gold.

The author spends the next quarter of the book describing the means by which Engels threw himself wholeheartedly into Manchester’s domestic life, workers’ meetings, and squalor, learning how to be truly fluent in Mancunian life.There is also attention paid to his relationship with Irish factory girl Mary Burns, who would become like a common-law wife to him until her death in 1863.The author also spends time examining Engels’ strained relationship with his evangelical father.

This may not have been the book for me.I knew in advance that the book was mostly literary criticism, which I have greatly enjoyed on other topics, but I struggled to stay interested during the second half of the book, which focused on the quality of the writing in “The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844”.I much preferred the first quarter, which examined the kind of writing that occurred about the north at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution.

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Book Title
Book Author
PublisherW. W. Norton & Company
Release date 01.04.1985
Pages count1
eBook formatPaperback, (torrent)En
File size1.2 Mb
Book rating4.2 (5 votes)
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