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William Cobbett

Details

  • Page extent: 264 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.394 kg

Paperback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521033428)

This book offers a thoroughgoing literary analysis of William Cobbett as a writer. Leonora Nattrass explores the nature and effect of Cobbett's rhetorical strategies, showing through close examination of a broad selection of his polemical writings (from his early American journalism onwards) the complexity, self-consciousness and skill of his stylistic procedures. Her close readings examine the political implications of Cobbett's style within the broader context of eighteenth-and early nineteenth-century political prose, and argue that his perceived ideological and stylistic flaws - inconsistency, bigotry, egoism and political nostalgia - are in fact rhetorical strategies designed to appeal to a range of usually polarized reading audiences. This re-reading revises a critical concensus that Cobbett is an unselfconscious populist whose writings reflect rather than challenge the ideological paradoxes and problems of his time.

• A full study of Cobbett as a writer, examining his style and its political effects from a literary-critical viewpoint • Revises the standard view of Cobbett in important ways, which will be of interest to historians as well as literary scholars • Provides context of other eighteenth-/early nineteenth-century political journalists and pamphleteers; includes material on his early American journalism

Contents

Acknowledgements; A chronology of Cobbett's life; Introduction: change and continuity; Part I. The Creation of Cobbett: 1. Early writings 1792–1800; 2. A version of reaction; 3. Oppositional styles 1804–16; 4. Representing Old England; Part II. Cobbett and his Audience: 5. Dialogue and debate; 6. A radical history; 7. Tracts and teaching; 8. Constituting the nation; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

Review

'[This] valuable book makes it possible even for those who find Cobbett's ideas in themselves too often naive, wrongheaded, or repellent, to continue to admire his art. It also goes far to account for Cobbett's undoubtedly enormous influence in his day.' James Sambrook, Romanticism

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