Mobilising the Imperial Uncanny: Nineteenth-Century Textual Attitudes to Travelling Romani People, Canal-Boat People, Showpeople and Hop-Pickers in Britain

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    Abstract

    To the fine global consumers of luxury goods produced by British industry, Dickens's narrator of Hard Times tells us, Coketown was not to be mentioned. Thoughts of the dirty means of production and the people engaged in it must be repressed to allow the continuing and smooth function of imperial capitalist enterprise. I suggest an analogous nineteenth-century repression (and Dickens himself was quick to make analogies with Coketown), one hinted at by the presence of Cecilia Jupe and her family in Hard Times; the Jupes are travelling showpeople—an “objectionable calling”—who fit not at all into Gradgrind's system of regulation and government but are nevertheless integral to the plot's onward movement (11).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)359-375
    Number of pages17
    JournalNineteenth-Century Contexts
    Volume37
    Issue number4
    Early online date15 Jul 2015
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2015

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