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Word Crimes : Blasphemy, Culture and Literature in Nineteenth Century England - Joss Marsh

Word Crimes

Blasphemy, Culture and Literature in Nineteenth Century England

Paperback Published: 1st January 1998
ISBN: 9780226506913
Number Of Pages: 442

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In 1883 the editor of a penny newspaper stood trial three times for the "obsolete" crime of blasphemy. The editor was G. W. Foote, the paper was the "Freethinker," and the trial was the defining event of the decade. Foote's "martyrdom" completed blasphemy's nineteenth-century transformation from a religious offense to a class and cultural crime.
From extensive archival and literary research, Joss Marsh reconstructs a unified and particular account of blasphemy in Victorian England. Rewriting English history from the bottom up, she tells the forgotten stories of more than two hundred working-class "blasphemers," like Foote, whose stubborn refusal to silence their "hooligan" voices helped secure our rights to speak and write freely today. The new standards of criminality used to judge their "word crimes" rewrote the terms of literary judgment, demoting the Bible to literary masterpiece and raising Literature as the primary standard of Victorian cultural value.

List of Illustrations
Blasphemy, 1817-30
""You know me now, the Arch Blasphemer"": The Three Trials of William Hone
Three Epilogues
Carlile, the Volunteers, and the Age of Reason Struggle
Trials of the 1840s
""Knowledge is Power,"" or, the Cheap Press as Blasphemy
The Moxon Case and the Growth of the Poet's Income
Jacob Holyoake and other ""Priests"" of the Oracle
England, 1883
The ""Celebrated Case"" of G. W. Foote and the Freethinker
Two Codas
Literature and Dogma
""Bibliolatry"" and ""Bible-Smashing""
The Heretic Trope of the Book
Literary Law and the Authority of Literature
When ""Literary Difference"" Became a ""Criminal Offence""
Words, Words, Words
Mr. Foote's Trial for Obscenity
Victorian Euphemism and the Fear of Language
The Systematization of Silence
Jacob Holyoake, ""Master of Sentences""
The Victorian Crisis of Language
Hardy's Crime
Committing Literary Blasphemy
""Get It Done and Let Them Howl""
Hardy the Degenerate, Pooley the Obscure
Modern Words, Modern Crimes
Abbreviations and Archival Collections
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780226506913
ISBN-10: 0226506916
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 442
Published: 1st January 1998
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.61
Edition Number: 2
Edition Type: New edition