Eighteenth-century England was a land of profound contradiction. On the one hand it exhibited the spirit of the Age of Reason, with the intellects of Alexander Pope, Adam Smith, and Samuel Johnson flourishing in Augustan calm and elegance. But on the other it was a Hogarthian caricature come to life, a world of crime, disease, and squalor, where life was cheap and visitors to English cities half expected to be robbed, raped, or murdered upon arrival--and often had their worst fears confirmed. Was it a society more open than its oppressive continental neighbors that allowed this chaos? Or was it, in some crude fashion, a means of redistributing wealth in a country where the line between rich and poor was a veritable abyss? While questions such as these have been raised and partly answered in the last decade, Frank McLynn here provides the first comprehensive view of crime and its consequences in eighteenth-century England.
Much of the book dispels the traditonal myths of crime in the eighteenth century, but it does more than merely challenge these old assumptions. McLynn places crime and punishment in a wider social and political context, and shows how a pervading sense of insecurity--due in part to the constant threat of Jacobitism and instability of the economy--contributed in a large part to the rampant lawlessness. He also demonstrates how, despite the ever-growing list of capital offenses, a day at the Tyburn gallows offered more in the way of celebration than deterrance for would-be criminals.
Drawing many parallels to our own often chaotic world, this book offers us a distant and disturbing mirror, one that helps readers focus not only on the social problems of yesterday, but on those of today as well.
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Frank McLynn is a British journalist, historian, and biographer and the author of twenty-nine critically acclaimed books. His best-known works include biographies of Napoleon Bonapart, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton, and Henry Morton Stanley. His book The Jacobite Army in England was awarded the Cheltenham Prize for Literature in 1985, and he was short-listed for the 1989 McVitie's Prize for Scottish Writer of the Year in 1989. He is a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford, and London University, where he obtained his doctorate.Review:
"His richly detailed, carefully argued, and delightfully written book weaves innumerable individual case histories into nuanced arguments and generalizations....Specialists and general readersa like will profit from his treatment of a wide range of subjects."
-"The Eighteenth Century
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Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1991. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 192852337
Descrizione libro Oxford University Press, 1991. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110192852337