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Book description

While the French Revolution drew immense attention to French radicals and their ideas, London also played host to a radical intellectual culture. Drawing on both original material and a range of interdisciplinary insights, Radical Conduct transforms our understanding of the literary radicalism of London at the time of the French Revolution. It offers new accounts of people's understanding of and relationship to politics, their sense of the boundaries of privacy, their practices of sociability, friendship, gossip and discussion, the relations between radical men and women, and their location in a wider world of sound and movement in the period. It reveals a series of tensions between many radicals' deliberative practices and aspirations and the conventions and practices in which their behaviour remained embedded. Exploring these relationships and pressures reveals the fractured world of London society and politics, dramatically illuminating both the changing fortunes of radical men and women, and the intriguing uncertainties that drove some of the government's repressive policies.


‘Radical Conduct is a remarkable redefinition of sociability as political practice. For Godwin, Wollstonecraft and their friends, the personal was always political, and their politics had to be tested against their conduct, as they attempted to challenge habit and custom though everyday interactions recorded in their diaries, letters, and fiction.’

Jon Mee - University of York

‘Mark Philp’s important study advances debates on late-eighteenth-century social, political and literary culture in crucial ways, reconceptualizing the ways that people thought about and practised both politics and sociability in the period. Its focus on lived experience and conduct demonstrates the ways in which political aspirations often clashed with practice.’

Mary Fairclough - University of York

‘Philp’s overall achievement is a rich, nuanced, and often poignant picture of how metropolitan radicalism was practiced in the age of revolutions.’

Gordon Pentland Source: Journal of British Studies

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