The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, by Jonathan Rose; Yale University Press, 2003, US$23. The working class—steeped in darkness, ignorance and bad taste—or downtrodden nobility? A bit of both, according to this book, an astonishingly detailed survey of British working-class literary and educational ways over 250 or more years, principally based on the reading attainment and tastes and to some extent politics of industrial, agricultural and mining manual workers as revealed through a host of reminiscences and records. There are no great surprises, but the book will be of little comfort to Marxists and postmodernists. It shows…
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