The Tichborne Claimant

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9781852854782: The Tichborne Claimant


The extraordinary case in 1874 of the Tichborne Claimant generated the longest trial, to that point, in British legal history. Was the stout man claiming to be the vanished Sir Roger Tichborne really who he said he was; or was he Arthur Orton, a butcher from Wagga Wagga in Australia? Was he the public school educated rightful heir to a landed estate or an ill-educated fraud? Why, if he was a fraud, had the dowager Lady Tichborne recognised him? And what was the truth about his tattoo?



The trial mesmerised the British public and led to furious debate, to the extent that several newspapers were devoted entirely to the case and a Tichbornite candidate won a seat in Parliament. The case divided the nation along political, religious and social lines, and the campaign for justice for the Claimant proved a focus for political activism between the defeat of the Chartists and rise of the Labour Party.

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About the Author:

Rohan McWilliam is Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University and author of Popular Politics in Nineteenth-Century England and the editor (with Kelly Boyd) of The Victorian Studies Reader (2007).

Review:

-Mention. The Chronicle ofHigher Education/ July 13, 2007



"Despite the esteemed former Tablet editor Douglas Woodruff's fine book on the subject, published 50 years ago, this thoroughly researched biography ought to be the standard work on the matter for our times." Tablet, July 2007 (The American Spectator)

"Rohan McWilliam's account goes further in unteasing the many strands of this baffling and delightfully ludicrous affair" (Sarah Wise Literary Review)

Mentioned in Publishing News, October 2007 (Publishing News)

Reviewed by Emeritus Professor G.R. Batho, The Historical Association.

"In each case an event or a figure that scholars had previously confined to passing references becomes a key to unlock the broadest possible understanding of their respective periods. Now, with Rohan McWilliam's rich book we can add the Tichborne imposture case to this (partial) list of episodes rescued from the indifference of posterity. But what makes this addition especially remarkable is the fact that the Tichborne story, unlike most others in this genre, is not simply an unnoticed backdoor key to the bigger picture. Rather, as McWilliam persuasively shows, it is itself the bigger picture." - Dror Wahrman, Victorian Studies, Winter 2008 (Dror Wahrman)

"McWilliam argues that the Claimant's narrative can best be understood as a melodrama, a dramatic form then still in the mainstream of popular culture...In doing so, he has not only told us that story in its full delirious glory for the first time, but he has showed us how much "sense" it did make to contemporaries, and in doing so has made a genuinely important contribution to our understanding of popular consciousness—truly, a rescue of popular experience from the condescension of posterity." - Peter Mandler, H-Net Reviews, October 2007 (Peter Mandler H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

Mentioned in History Today, July 2009

'[McWilliam] tells the story with a lucid command of narrative and an understated wit.' - London Review of Books

'McWilliam has done a wonderful, thoughtful and imaginative job, and in so doing has thrown up some welcome challenges to the way that we think about political and social history. His understanding of why the Tichborne story remains puzzling even after his painstaking reconstruction forces us to continue asking difficult questions about the connections between politics and emotion in an emerging mass culture.'

- Journal of Victorian Culture, 2009



'Rohan McWilliam, a Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University, has produced a scholarly study of an extraordinary event in the nineteenth century which aroused great passion. The general reader will...enjoy the book for its logical exposition and balanced assessment.'

- The Historical Association



'The Tichborne Claimant is a superb example of what a dedicated, sensitive historian can do in terms of opening up a vanished world. It is engaging written: despite pulling in a range of recent emphases in cultural history, it is never burdened by the theoretical weight of the work it accomplishes so handily.'
- Media History, August 2008



'In this well-research and well-written book, Rohan McWilliam has produced an entertaining and wide-ranging account of a case that aroused widespread interest in mid-Victorian Britain but that, at least until the 1998 film The Tichborne Claimant, scarcely gets more than passing reference today. It is one of the strengths of the book that it takes the reader beyond the narrow confines of the case itself and sets the claimant and his case in a broader sociopolitical and cultural context and in so doing brings out the wide significance of the popular movement that grew up around such an unlikely character.'
- Journal of British Studies, 2008



'This book is a remarkable, fascinating study of Victorian popular politics that will interest many.'
- American Historical Review, 2008



'The overall strength of the book is unmistakable. It does not just inform the reader about the Tichborne Claimant and the progress of his case until his final demise. It contextualizes it in the richness of its Victorian setting and comes as near to making sense of the whole nonsensical affair as could be achieved — and that turns it into a book which informs the reader about late Victorian British society, illuminating complex cultural agendas and often contradictory social rules, showing how these intersect and interact and how they affected popular understandings of many things. It is an admirable text for that — and it is also written in an enjoyably readable prose style.'
- Cultural and Social History, 2009



"Rohan McWilliam's account goes further in unteasing the many strands of this baffling and delightfully ludicrous affair" (Sanford Lakoff Literary Review)

“In each case an event or a figure that scholars had previously confined to passing references becomes a key to unlock the broadest possible understanding of their respective periods. Now, with Rohan McWilliam’s rich book we can add the Tichborne imposture case to this (partial) list of episodes rescued from the indifference of posterity. But what makes this addition especially remarkable is the fact that the Tichborne story, unlike most others in this genre, is not simply an unnoticed backdoor key to the bigger picture. Rather, as McWilliam persuasively shows, it is itself the bigger picture.” - Dror Wahrman, Victorian Studies, Winter 2008 (Sanford Lakoff)

”McWilliam argues that the Claimant’s narrative can best be understood as a melodrama, a dramatic form then still in the mainstream of popular culture...In doing so, he has not only told us that story in its full delirious glory for the first time, but he has showed us how much “sense” it did make to contemporaries, and in doing so has made a genuinely important contribution to our understanding of popular consciousness—truly, a rescue of popular experience from the condescension of posterity.” - Peter Mandler, H-Net Reviews, October 2007 (Sanford Lakoff H-Net: Humanities and Social Science Reviews Online)

'Rohan McWilliam, a Senior Lecturer in History at Anglia Ruskin University, has produced a scholarly study of an extraordinary event in the nineteenth century which aroused great passion. The general reader will...enjoy the book for its logical exposition and balanced assessment.’

- The Historical Association



'The Tichborne Claimant is a superb example of what a dedicated, sensitive historian can do in terms of opening up a vanished world. It is engaging written: despite pulling in a range of recent emphases in cultural history, it is never burdened by the theoretical weight of the work it accomplishes so handily.’
- Media History, August 2008



'In this well-research and well-written book, Rohan McWilliam has produced an entertaining and wide-ranging account of a case that aroused widespread interest in mid-Victorian Britain but that, at least until the 1998 film The Tichborne Claimant, scarcely gets more than passing reference today. It is one of the strengths of the book that it takes the reader beyond the narrow confines of the case itself and sets the claimant and his case in a broader sociopolitical and cultural context and in so doing brings out the wide significance of the popular movement that grew up around such an unlikely character.’
- Journal of British Studies, 2008



'This book is a remarkable, fascinating study of Victorian popular politics that will interest many.’
- American Historical Review, 2008



'The overall strength of the book is unmistakable. It does not just inform the reader about the Tichborne Claimant and the progress of his case until his final demise. It contextualizes it in the richness of its Victorian setting and comes as near to making sense of the whole nonsensical affair as could be achieved – and that turns it into a book which informs the reader about late Victorian British society, illuminating complex cultural agendas and often contradictory social rules, showing how these intersect and interact and how they affected popular understandings of many things. It is an admirable text for that – and it is also written in an enjoyably readable prose style.’
- Cultural and Social History, 2009

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. It was called the Tichborne Romance and it became the greatest cause-celebre of the Victorian age. In 1865, a butcher from Wagga Wagga in Australia proclaimed himself to be the English aristocrat, Sir Roger Tichborne, thought to have died at sea many years before. He fetched up in England and insisted on the restoration of the Tichborne inheritance. Some believed him (including many who had known Roger Tichborne) even though he looked nothing like the original. Others insisted that the butcher was an impostor. The Tichborne Claimant s appearance triggered two of the longest trials in English legal history and divided the nation. The public was fascinated by the lurid revelations from the courtroom about seduction, corruption and intrigue amongst both Britain s elite and in the back streets of London. The Claimant became a hero to the working class who insisted that he was genuine and backed a bizarre campaign to support him. An MP was even elected to parliament on the back of the Tichborne cause, which became one of the largest popular agitations of the modern era. Was the Claimant a butcher or a baronet?Rohan McWilliam employs this colourful and sensational story to explore the mentality of the Victorians. From the Australian Bush to the pubs and music halls of London s East End, the book reconstructs the flamboyant exploits of the Claimant and the stories he told about himself. McWilliam recreates the extraordinary personalities that the Claimant attracted including his barrister, Edward Kenealy (an Irish lawyer who saw himself as a religious prophet), the spiritualist Georgina Weldon and the swashbuckling demagogue John De Morgan. In this multi-layered cultural history, McWilliam investigates the case by exploring radical politics, legal London, popular souvenirs, Staffordshire figurines, street music, comedy and melodrama. The book makes the case for seeing the Tichborne cause as an unlikely but vital moment in Britain s political and social development. Bookseller Inventory # APC9781852854782

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Book Description Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, United Kingdom, 2007. Hardback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.It was called the Tichborne Romance and it became the greatest cause-celebre of the Victorian age. In 1865, a butcher from Wagga Wagga in Australia proclaimed himself to be the English aristocrat, Sir Roger Tichborne, thought to have died at sea many years before. He fetched up in England and insisted on the restoration of the Tichborne inheritance. Some believed him (including many who had known Roger Tichborne) even though he looked nothing like the original. Others insisted that the butcher was an impostor. The Tichborne Claimant s appearance triggered two of the longest trials in English legal history and divided the nation. The public was fascinated by the lurid revelations from the courtroom about seduction, corruption and intrigue amongst both Britain s elite and in the back streets of London. The Claimant became a hero to the working class who insisted that he was genuine and backed a bizarre campaign to support him. An MP was even elected to parliament on the back of the Tichborne cause, which became one of the largest popular agitations of the modern era. Was the Claimant a butcher or a baronet?Rohan McWilliam employs this colourful and sensational story to explore the mentality of the Victorians. From the Australian Bush to the pubs and music halls of London s East End, the book reconstructs the flamboyant exploits of the Claimant and the stories he told about himself. McWilliam recreates the extraordinary personalities that the Claimant attracted including his barrister, Edward Kenealy (an Irish lawyer who saw himself as a religious prophet), the spiritualist Georgina Weldon and the swashbuckling demagogue John De Morgan. In this multi-layered cultural history, McWilliam investigates the case by exploring radical politics, legal London, popular souvenirs, Staffordshire figurines, street music, comedy and melodrama. The book makes the case for seeing the Tichborne cause as an unlikely but vital moment in Britain s political and social development. Bookseller Inventory # APC9781852854782

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