London Labour and the London Poor
Edited by Janice Schroeder and Barbara Leckie
Produced between 1850 and 1862, London Labour and the London Poor is one of the most significant examples of nineteenth-century oral history. The collection teems with the minute particulars of the everyday—bits and pieces of London lives assembled into a precarious whole by the author, editor, and principal investigator, Henry Mayhew. Mayhew was interested in the social fabric of people’s lives, their labour and earnings, but also their families, education, leisure time, and religious beliefs. What gives his “case studies” such immediacy is that they seem to flow unprompted and uninterrupted from the mouths of his subjects: street sellers, dock labourers, musicians, rat catchers, vagrants, chimney sweeps, thieves, and prostitutes.
All are captured in this newly annotated and selected edition of Mayhew’s four-volume work. Historical appendices include a contemporary map of London, reviews of London Labour, and other slum journalism from the period.
Janice Schroeder is Associate Professor of English at Carleton University.
Barbara Leckie is Professor in the Department of English and the Institute for the Comparative Study of Literature, Art, and Culture at Carleton University.
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