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

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University of Chicago Press, 1998 M08 15 - 431 páginas
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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Word crimes: blasphemy, culture, and literature in nineteenth-century England

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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 ... Leer comentario completo

Contenido

CHAPTER
78
CHAPTER THREE
127
Literature and Dogma
169
CHAPTER FIVE
204
CHAPTER
269
Notes
329
Abbreviations and Archival Collections
379
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