Features November 2012
Mining the ash heap
On Henry Mayhew’s magnum opus, London Labour and the London Poor.
Be no longer a chaos, but a world, or even worldkin. Produce! Produce! Were it but the pitifullest infinitesimal fraction of a product, produce it in God’s name! ’Tis the utmost thou hast in thee: out with it, then.
—Thomas Carlyle, Sartor Resartus (1834)
Get leave to work
In this world,—’tis the best you get at all;
For God, in cursing, gives us better gifts
Than men in benediction.
—Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh (1856)
There is a cant abroad at the present day, that there is a special pleasure in industry, and hence we are taught to regard all those who object to work as appertaining to the class of natural vagabonds; but where is the man among us that loves labour?
—Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor...
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