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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
May 2016
Print publication year:
Online ISBN:
Creative Commons:
Creative Common License - CC Creative Common License - BY Creative Common License - NC
This content is Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence CC-BY-NC 4.0

Book description

Jon Mee explores the popular democratic movement that emerged in the London of the 1790s in response to the French Revolution. Central to the movement's achievement was the creation of an idea of 'the people' brought into being through print and publicity. Radical clubs rose and fell in the face of the hostile attentions of government. They were sustained by a faith in the press as a form of 'print magic', but confidence in the liberating potential of the printing press was interwoven with hard-headed deliberations over how best to animate and represent the people. Ideas of disinterested rational debate were thrown into the mix with coruscating satire, rousing songs, and republican toasts. Print personality became a vital interface between readers and print exploited by the cast of radicals returned to history in vivid detail by Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism in the 1790s. This title is also available as Open Access.


‘A fascinating and insightful look at a very dangerous time in British history, Mee’s excellent book also speaks directly to us in the early 21st century as radicals once more try to disrupt civilisation.’

Source: Sun News Austin (

'… [this is] a book of very high quality, a cultural history both nourished by … deep research in archives and problematized by theoretical contributions through very fine micro-readings.'

Rémy Duthille Source: translated from Revue de la Société d’études anglo-américaines des XVIIe et XVIIIe siècles

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Full book PDF
  • Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism in the 1790s
    pp i-i
  • Cambridge Studies in Romanticism - Series page
    pp ii-ii
  • Print, Publicity, and Popular Radicalism in the 1790s - Title page
    pp iii-iii
  • The Laurel of Liberty
  • Copyright page
    pp iv-iv
  • Dedication
    pp v-vi
  • Contents
    pp vii-vii
  • Illustrations
    pp viii-viii
  • Acknowledgements
    pp ix-xi
  • Note on references
    pp xii-xii
  • Abbreviations
    pp xiii-xiv
  • Introduction: the open theatre of the world?
    pp 1-16
  • Part I - Publicity, print, and association
    pp 17-110
  • Chapter 1 - Popular radical print culture: ‘the more public the better’
    pp 19-60
  • Chapter 2 - The radical associations and ‘the general will’
    pp 61-110
  • Part II - Radical personalities
    pp 111-187
  • Chapter 3 - ‘Once a squire and now a Man’: Robert Merry and the pains of politics
    pp 113-130
  • Chapter 5 - Citizen Lee at the ‘Tree of Liberty’
    pp 149-167
  • Chapter 6 - John Thelwall and the ‘whole will of the nation’
    pp 168-187
  • Notes
    pp 188-235
  • Bibliography
    pp 236-260
  • Index
    pp 261-271
  • Cambridge Studies in Romanticism - Series page
    pp 272-272


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