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

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9780226506913: Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England
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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.

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Blasphemy was a crime in England during the 19th century. In this fascinating study, Marsh (English, Stanford) explores the blasphemy trials that served to change ideas about free speech. The key trial came in 1883 when G.W. Foote, editor of the penny newspaper "Freethinker," was prosecuted three times. Foote, and others detailed in the book, refused to be silenced and eventually secured the right to write and speak freely. The court ruled that blasphemy was not a criminal offense?and simultaneously elevated literature's authority. In addition to the blasphemy trials, Marsh examines how Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, published in 1895, ignited a fury of debate and criticism. This scholarly yet thoroughly engaging study of these important historical moments makes a splendid contribution to free speech literature. Recommended for literary and history collections in public and academic libraries.?Ronald Ray Ratliff, Chapman H.S. Lib., KS
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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9780226506906: Word Crimes: Blasphemy, Culture, and Literature in Nineteenth-Century England

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. This is a reconstructed account of blasphemy in Victorian England, retelling the forgotten stories of more than 200 working-class blasphemers, such as Foote, whose stubborn refusal to silence their hooligan voices helped secure the present right to speak and write freely, and whose martyrdom transformed blasphemy from a religious offence into a class and cultural crime. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226506913

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Book Description The University of Chicago Press, United States, 1998. Paperback. Condition: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book. 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. This is a reconstructed account of blasphemy in Victorian England, retelling the forgotten stories of more than 200 working-class blasphemers, such as Foote, whose stubborn refusal to silence their hooligan voices helped secure the present right to speak and write freely, and whose martyrdom transformed blasphemy from a religious offence into a class and cultural crime. Seller Inventory # AAH9780226506913

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