In 1988 Iain McCalman's seminal work, Radical Underworld, unravelled the complex and clandestine revolutionary networks of democrats that operated in London between 1790 and the beginnings of Chartism, to reveal an urban underworld of prophets, infidels, pornographers and rogue preachers where powerful satirical and subversive subcultures were developed.
This present volume reflects and builds upon the diversity of McCalman's discoveries, to present fresh insights into the culture and operation of popular politics in the 'age of reform'.
It is a coherent and integrated treatment of the subject that offers a window into this 'unrespectable' underworld and questions whether it was a blackguard subculture or a more complex and rich counter-culture with powerful literary, legal and political implications. This book brings together an international team of experienced scholars to explore the concepts and subjects pioneered by McCalman.
The volume presents a focused and coherent review of popular politics, from the meeting rooms of a reform society and the theatre stage, to the forum of the courtroom and the depths of prison.