The Novel and Middle-Class England

Without Contraries is no progression
  • T. B. Tomlinson


In the course of thinking about modern English literature and society, and the range of people who have written about it (including, that is, people as different as Arnold, Lawrence, Eliot, Leavis, Raymond Williams, Hoggart, Georg Lukács), at some point or other, it seems to me, one has to decide between two mutually exclusive ideas: you can see English language and literature either as the nodal point of society, the focus of all that is creative in it; or as one of several key influences, not all of which are, or should be, at all times either consonant or equally important.


Middle Class Material Interest Walk Away Great Writer Great Novelist 
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  1. 1.
    For figures on literacy see: J. W. Dodds, The Age of Paradox (Gollancz, 1953), esp. pp. 128f.;Google Scholar
  2. R. K. Webb, The British Working Class Reader, 1790–1848 (Allen and Unwin, 1955 );Google Scholar
  3. R. D. Altick, The English Common Reader (Chicago, 1957 );Google Scholar
  4. E. P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Pelican ed., 1968 ) pp. 783–94.Google Scholar
  5. 2.
    George Lukacs, Essays on Thomas Mann (Merlin Press, 1964) p. 94.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    George Lukacs, The Historical Novel (Merlin Press, 1962) p. 33.Google Scholar
  7. 4.
    D. H. Lawrence, Selected Literary Criticism, ed. Anthony Beal (Heinemann, 1955 ) p. 115.Google Scholar
  8. 7.
    R. J. White, Waterloo to Peterloo (Heinemann, 1957 ) p. 153Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    E. J. Hobsbawm, Labouring Men (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1964) p. 24; and cf. Thompson, Making of the English Working Class. The period of the First Reform Bill is, of course, the one covered in Middlemarch q.v. below, Chapter 7.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Charles Booth, Life and Labour of the People (1897) ix, P. 441.Google Scholar

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© T. B. Tomlinson 1976

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  • T. B. Tomlinson

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