John M. Ulrich is associate professor of English at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, where he teaches courses in nineteenth-century British literature, literary theory, and composition.
Listed in: Literary Criticism | European | English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh · Victorian Studies · Literature
Signs of Their Times
History, Labor, and the Body in Cobbett, Carlyle, and Disraeli
By John M. Ulrich
From the 1820s through the 1840s, debate raged over what Thomas Carlyle famously termed “the Condition of England Question.” While much of the debate focused on how to remedy the material sufferings of the rural and urban working classes, for three writers in particular—William Cobbett, Thomas Carlyle, and Benjamin Disraeli–the times were marked by an even more pervasive crisis that threatened not only the material lives of workers, but also the very stability of meaning itself.