Andrew HadfieldSep 20, 2022
Literature and Class
From the Peasants’ Revolt to the French Revolution
Manchester University Press 2021
Andrew Hadfield is Professor of English at the University of Sussex. Andrew has written widely on topics ranging from class struggle in the Forsyte chronicles, Hamlet and Poland, and early modern political theory. He is the author of an authoritative biography of Edmund Spenser and the co-editor of Amazons, Savages, and Machiavels: Travel and Colonial Writing in English, 1550-1630: An Anthology. His new book is Literature and Class: From the Peasants’ Revolt to the French Revolution, published through Manchester University Press.
This new book explores the intimate relationship between literature and class in England (and later Britain) from the Peasants' Revolt at the end of the fourteenth century to the impact of the French Revolution at the end of the eighteenth century and beginning of the nineteenth. The book argues throughout that class cannot be seen as a modern phenomenon that occurred after the Industrial revolution but that class divisions and relations have always structured societies and that it makes sense to assume a historical continuity. The book explores a number of themes relating to class: class consciousness; class conflict; commercialisation; servitude; rebellion; gender relations; and colonisation. After outlining the history of class relations, five chapters explore the ways in which social class consciously and unconsciously influenced a series of writers: Chaucer, Shakespeare, Behn, Rochester, Defoe, Duck, Richardson, Burney, Blake and Wordsworth.
John Yargo is Visiting Assistant Professor of English at Boston College. He holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. His peer-reviewed articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Early Theatre, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.