London labour and the London poor, Volume 4

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Books on Demand, 1864 - 567 pages
 

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The journalist Henry Mayhew started writing articles on London's poor in 1849, interviewing people so they could tell their own story. Over the years by adding vivid descriptions, statistics, essays ... Read full review

London labour and the London poor

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Journalist Mayhew wrote these texts as newspaper articles between 1849 and 1850. He exposed the underbelly of London's impoverished masses, some working, some begging, others stealing. Dickens, it ain't. Read full review

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Page 245 - One more Unfortunate, Weary of breath, Rashly importunate, Gone to her death! Take her up tenderly, Lift her with care; Fashioned so slenderly, Young, and so fair ! Look at her garments Clinging like cerements; Whilst the wave constantly Drips from her clothing; Take her up instantly, Loving, not loathing. Touch her not scornfully; Think of her mournfully, Gently and humanly...
Page 394 - Sunday following, when the people are at church, the said collectors shall gently ask and demand of every man and woman what they of their charity will give weekly towards the relief of the poor, and the same is to be written in the same book.
Page 41 - And Judah said, Bring her forth, and let her be burnt. 25: When she was brought forth, she sent to her father in law, saying, By the man, whose these are, am I with child: and she said, Discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, and bracelets, and staff.
Page 199 - The psychiatrists stepped in at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th, centuries.
Page 39 - Away with cant, and let him that is without sin among you cast the first stone.
Page 41 - Behold thy father in law goeth up to Timnath to shear his sheep. 14 And she put her widow's garments off from her, and covered her with a vail, and wrapped herself, and sat in an open place...
Page 41 - And he turned unto her by the way, and said, Go to, I pray thee, let me come in unto thee; (for he knew not that she was his daughter-in-law.) And she said, What wilt thou give me, that thou mayest come in unto me?
Page xli - Now the utilities produced by labour are of three kinds. They are, First, utilities fixed and embodied in outward objects ; by labour employed in investing external material things with properties which render them serviceable to human beings.
Page 41 - And he returned to Judah, and . said, I cannot find her; and also the men of the place said, that there was no harlot in this place.
Page 41 - And he said, I will send thee a kid from the flock. And she said. Wilt thou give me a pledge, till thou send it? 18 And he said, What pledge shall I give thee? And she said. Thy signet, and thy bracelets, and thy staff that -is in thine hand.

About the author (1864)

Henry Mayhew had a varied career as a London writer of the mid-Victorian period. He was the son of a London solicitor, Joshua Mayhew, who reputedly was a rather tyrannous father. Apparently, Henry was a bitter disappointment to his father; the younger Mayhew had been educated at the Westminster School but, in objection to a flogging he had received, ran away from school and went to sea for a year. On his return, he was articled to his father but after three years, he abandoned the law to seek a career as a journalist and a dramatist. Mayhew achieved some early success as a dramatist, most notably with his 1834 farce, "The Wandering Minstrel." In the late 1830's, he was the joint editor of a successful satirical weekly, Figaro in London, and later helped to found Figaro's most significant and long-lived successor, Punch. Evidently, a fairly serious rift developed between Mayhew and his magazine colleagues, although the details of this falling-out remain a mystery---one of the many unanswered questions about Mayhew's life. Mayhew was never without financial worries, and, as a means of making quick money, he collaborated on a number of comic novels with his younger brother, Augustus (1826--75). Their most successful work is "The Greatest Plague of Life" (1847), which was issued in monthly numbers and proved very popular. They followed it with "Whom to Marry and How to Get Married" (1848); later Mayhew singly authored 1851, or, "The Adventures of Mr. and Mrs. Sandbags 1851," (1851). Mayhew's attempt, in 1851, to publish the 82 "letters" he had written for the Morning Chronicle, in which he investigates the plight of London's urban poor, was a financial failure. They were issued in 1861, however, in four volumes under the title London Labour and the London Poor. It is for this classic work that Mayhew is today best known. In it, he unhesitatingly depicts the opprobrium under which most of the London working classes led their lives. In many ways, London Labour and the London Poor epitomizes the Victorian tendency to be simultaneously repulsed and fascinated by the working classes, the "Great Unwashed" huddled together in the urban centers of England. Along with Edwin Chadwick and J.P. Kay-Shuttleworth, Mayhew stands as one of the earliest of urban sociologists. Although recent years have witnessed an increase in interest in Henry Mayhew, a "definitive" biography remains to be written. The introductions to his work, notably John Rosenberg's preface to the Dover facsimile edition of London Labour and the London Poor and the essays framing the edition of "The Unknown Mayhew," are good sources of information.

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