'I go about the street with water-creases crying, "Four bunches a penny, water-creases."' London Labour and the London Poor is an extraordinary work of investigative journalism, a work of literature, and a groundbreaking work of sociology. Mayhew conducted hundreds of interviews with London's street traders, entertainers, thieves and beggars which revealed that the 'two nations' of rich and poor in Victorian Britain
were much closer than many people thought. By turns alarming, touching, and funny, the pages of London Labour and the London Poor exposed a previously hidden world to view. The first-hand accounts of costermongers and
street-sellers, of sewer-scavenger and chimney-sweep, are intimate and detailed and provide an unprecedented insight into their day-to-day struggle for survival. Combined with Mayhew's obsessive data gathering, these stories have an immediacy that owes much to his sympathetic understanding and highly effective literary style. This new selection offers a cross-section of the original volumes and their evocative illustrations, and includes an illuminating introduction to
Henry Mayhew and the genesis and influence of his work. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe.
Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
`Review from previous edition Robert Douglas-Fairhurst has a strong sense of the contradictory forces at work in Mayhew's writing, which he compares successively to a peep show, a collection of dramatic monologues and an early work of sociology...this selection is still as long as a fair-sized novel, with helpful notes and a springy, suggestive introduction that captures the energy and variety of Mayhew's world.'
John Bowen, TLS 17/12/2010
`Should be required reading not just for lovers of Dickens, but for anyone who wishes to understand how our nineteenth century truly was.'
Simon Heffer, Telegraph 14/01/2011
`superb new edition'
Ian Thomson, Evening Standard 02/12/2010
Michael Dirda, Washington Post 26/01/2011
`some of the best descriptive writing in the English language'
Roy Hattersley, New Statesman 18/10/2010