Michael Gamer responds to Jacob Henry Leveton
One of the running jokes within my graduate coterie was our shared love of E. P. Thompson’s The Making of the English Working Class – a book many referred to simply as “The Bible.” It was Thompson who opened that long history of class consciousness up to us; yet it was the details you remembered, from the courtroom sketches of the Treason Trials to the accounts of frame-breakers to the various, horrific renderings of Peterloo. Newman provides a similar wealth of haunting details about sociability, class, and politics — enough to send me back to Thompson to look for taverns and other, associated venues of political sociability. What kind of political, demographic, and architectural maps might emerge from the guild members, professionals, electors, club-members, shop-keepers, and families detailed in The Romantic Tavern’s pages? What other kinds of histories – of the Romantic stage, for instance – might we generate were we to start with spaces rather than texts?
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