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Decency and Disorder Paperback – 3 Apr 2008

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (3 April 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571224695
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571224692
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 3.3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 456,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


'This timely new history reveals how a nation's spirit was crushed.' -- Guardian

'Wilson recounts the case of William Palfrey, who tested the boundaries of liberty by bathing naked in 1818. Intriguing story.' -- Sunday Telegraph

'Wilson takes us on a fascinating journey of change.' -- Daily Express

Book Description

Decency and Disorder: The Age of Cant 1789-1837 is Ben Wilson's dazzling new account of the colourful and outrageous period before the Victorians - the age of Jane Austen and Byron.

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Crowther on 16 Jan. 2014
Format: Paperback
This is quite simply a brilliant book. I was looking for an account of how the Victorians became the Victorians, and this is it. Vic Gatrell's "City of Laughter", which uses some of the same materials, is marred by a simplistic anti-Victorianism; but Ben Wilson's analysis is much more sophisticated and balanced, acknowledging both the unappealing "cant" and snobbery of the new puritans who came to prominence in the early 19th century, and also the brutality, coarseness and violence of the society they set their faces against. Wilson's style is clear and enthusiastic, and he knows when to let the witnesses speak for themselves. Like it or not, the society we live in is fundamentally affected by the moral and social battles fought at this time.
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