Emily Cockayne
Hubbub: Filth, Noise & Stench in England, 1600-1770.
Yale University Press, 335 pages, $35

Ever since Cain founded the first city, cities have the reputation of being havens for murderers, crooks, and conmen, snobs and hairdressers, brothels and bars, restaurants and coffee houses. All the pleasures, really, with the only serpent in sight being municipal government. Cities have also given rise to the pleasures of indignation. Here, for example, is an ancestor of the famous Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells, “disgusted of Manchester,” on a day at the races:

To display that Scene of Iniquity in its proper colours, would sully the imagination and taint the minds of men afresh … the representation of it only, is so odious, that no pure Eye can see, nor modest Ear can hear, without Horror and Astonishment; … [blasphemy and obscenity was]...

 

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