Classic Soil (Hardback)
  • Classic Soil (Hardback)

Classic Soil (Hardback)

Hardback Published: 31/10/2003
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Based on twenty years? research, Classic Soil explores one hundred square miles of industrialized south Lancashire during the early nineteenth century through contemporary local writings. Occupying a corner of this area was its market centre: the adjacent townships of Great and Little Bolton, comprising one of the most densely populated districts of the United Kingdom, divided by rival political and religious traditions. Bolton was the centre of deep-rooted traditions of reform, particularly with its ?Jacobin? elements, rooted in centuries of opposition to local landlords and the established church, and was home to numerous articulate working-class groups already in vigorous dialogue with local capitalists. Classic Soil divides between ?Romanticism? and ?Reform?. The latter exemplifies middle-class alliances toward amelioration, informed and challenged in Bolton by voices from the working class. The former represents conflicting individual aspirations toward alternatives to that more pedestrian but ultimately more effective pattern of renewal. Terminal points of the book are the Peterloo Massacre of 1819 and the reform of the corn laws of 1846. A pivotal chapter concerns Boltonian-American landscapist Thomas Cole. Like Engels in south Lancashire, young Cole in North America yearns toward an ideogram of ?classic perfection,? ?Arcadia?. It was Cole, not Engels, who made the transition to a more mature view, dividing his energies, after 1844, between a radical new empiricism and an iconic transcendentalism that, together, implied an abandonment of the pseudo-classic Arcadia of adolescence.

Publisher: Associated University Presses
ISBN: 9780838639665

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