Culture and Identity in Europe, 1840–1914
Edited By Ingrid Hanson, Jack Rhoden and Erin Snyder
Ranging across not only Britain but also France, Germany, Belgium, Finland, Spain and Italy, the essays draw on different discourses and art forms. They all utilise concepts of cultural materialism to shape an understanding of the contingent relationships between national and international public discourse and identity, political change and cultural production as well as the reproduction, translation, influence and dissemination of both politics and culture in art and literature.
Ingrid Hanson, Wilfred Jack Rhoden and Erin Snyder Introduction
On 24 March 1888, the Socialist League journal, Commonweal, carried an inserted cartoon by the British artist Walter Crane. It depicts two work- ing men, one holding aloft the f lame of enlightenment, the other carry- ing labouring tools jauntily over his shoulder, a phyrgian cap in his other hand; both are saluting a draped female figure who holds a banner reading ‘Vive La Commune’! The cartoon is captioned: ‘An English Tribute to the French Commune: Dedicated to the Workers of Both Countries’ (Crane 1888). The newspaper itself of fered a report on the annual London celebra- tion of the Commune alongside a round-up of ‘The Labour Struggle’ in Britain and across Europe. In a similarly internationalist vein, the equiva- lent March issue of the previous year of fered a translation of a poem by the revolutionary German writer Georg Herwegh, a feature on socialism in Denmark and an advertisement for a book by the veteran Chartist John Sketchley, entitled A Review of European Society (Commonweal, 26 March 1887, 101; 97–8; 104). These snapshots of socialist journalism in late Victorian Britain sug- gest some of the ways in which this nascent political movement drew on a combination of literature, visual art, and revolutionary history to create an internationalist, British working-class identity in the pages of its newspa- pers. Earlier in the century, essays and poems by Georg Weerth, described by Friedrich Engels in 1883 as ‘the German Proletariat’s first and most important poet’ (1976: 402), drew on his experiences...
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