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ENGL 4325/5325- Victorian Literature: British Class System
Cruikshank's image of the bee hive as a metaphor for society is based on an idea developed by the economist Adam Smith in the 1770s which suggested that social status and social identity were primarily determined not by social, religious or political rank, but by occupation and by an individual's relation to the means of production. So in this print the hierarchy of British society is presented as a pyramid showing each profession's relative importance and status. Bees are a singularly industrious species in which there are clear divisions of labour, and have been used as a metaphor for human social structures since Roman times.
Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics
Language of Gender and Class: Transformation in the Victorian Novel
Provides an index to the original records of Booth’s Inquiry into the Life and Labour of the People in London, an extensive study of working class life undertaken between 1886 and 1903, which is archived at the London School of Economics and Political Science library. Also contains a great deal of digitized material, including police notebooks and the Maps Descriptive of London Poverty, in which maps of London were color-coded to indicate the poverty level and social class in different area.
Middlemarch is set in the period leading up to the 1832 Reform Act. Professor John Mullan explores how George Eliot uses the novel to examine different kinds of reform and progress: political, scientific and social. -
The Victorians liked to have their social classes clearly defined. The working class was divided into three layers, the lowest being 'working men' or labourers, then the ‘intelligent artisan’, and above him the ‘educated working man’. In reality, things were not so tidily demarcated.