The social and economic background for the literature of the English "hungry forties"
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The era known as the "Hungry Forties" in England is considered as approximately the years 1840-1844, but to thoroughly understand the events of these years, the longer period 1838-1848 has been studied. The investigation is limited to the social and economic changes which affected workers in the textile manufactures, especially those in cotton mills. The literary results of this period are studied in terms of one representative "purpose novel" at each of the following writers: Mrs. Gaskell, Mrs. Trollope, Dickens, Disraeli, and Kingsley, and selected group of workingmen's pamphlets, poems, and autobiographies. Works published within this ten-year period have been used as often as possible. Six definite social and economic trends of the nineteenth century are considered, which manifested themselves during this ten-year period, with a brief survey of their appearance before 1838, and a more detailed description during 1838-1848. These movements were (1) Trade Unions and Socialism, (2) The Chartist Movement, (3) The Struggle for the Repeal of the Corn Laws, (4) The Ten Hours Movement, (5) The Poor Law Amendment, (6) The Shift in Population and Economic Crises.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University, 1944