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Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism in the 1790s
The Laurel of Liberty


Part of Cambridge Studies in Romanticism

  • Author: Jon Mee, University of York
  • Date Published: December 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107590083

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About the Authors
  • Jon Mee explores the popular democratic movement that emerged in the London of the 1790s in response to the French Revolution. Central to the movement's achievement was the creation of an idea of 'the people' brought into being through print and publicity. Radical clubs rose and fell in the face of the hostile attentions of government. They were sustained by a faith in the press as a form of 'print magic', but confidence in the liberating potential of the printing press was interwoven with hard-headed deliberations over how best to animate and represent the people. Ideas of disinterested rational debate were thrown into the mix with coruscating satire, rousing songs, and republican toasts. Print personality became a vital interface between readers and print exploited by the cast of radicals returned to history in vivid detail by Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism in the 1790s. This title is also available as Open Access.

    • A fascinating narrative of the emergence of a popular democratic movement in Britain after the French Revolution in the face of government hostility
    • Rethinks popular radicalism in the age of revolutions in relation to material culture of print and publicity
    • Will appeal to cultural historians, literary scholars, and book historians, particularly those interested in material culture and the political history of the age of revolution
    • This title is also available as Open Access
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A fascinating and insightful look at a very dangerous time in British history, Mee's excellent book also speaks directly to us in the early 21st century as radicals once more try to disrupt civilisation.' Sun News Austin (

    '… [this is] a book of very high quality, a cultural history both nourished by … deep research in archives and problematized by theoretical contributions through very fine micro-readings.' Rémy Duthille, translated from Revue de la Société d'études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107590083
    • length: 293 pages
    • dimensions: 230 x 153 x 20 mm
    • weight: 0.48kg
    • contains: 11 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the open theatre of the world?
    Part I. Publicity, Print, and Association:
    1. Popular radical print culture: 'the more public the better'
    2. The radical associations and 'the general will'
    Part II. Radical Personalities:
    3. 'Once a squire and now a man': Robert Merry and the pains of politics
    4. 'The ablest head, with the blackest heart:' Charles Pigott and the scandal of radicalism
    5. Citizen Lee at 'The tree of liberty'
    6. John Thelwall and the 'whole will of the nation'.

  • Author

    Jon Mee, University of York
    Jon Mee is Professor of Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York and Director of the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies. He has published many essays and books on the literature, culture, and politics of the age of revolutions in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. He is also author of The Cambridge Introduction to Charles Dickens (Cambridge, 2010).

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