Historians of the long eighteenth century have recently recognised that this period is central both to the history of cultural production and consumption and to the history of national and regional identity. Yet no book has, as yet, directly engaged with these two areas of interest at the same time. By uniting interest in the history of culture with the history of regional identity, Creating and Consuming Culture in North-East England, 1660–1830 is of crucial importance to a wide range of historians and intervenes in a number of highly important historical and conceptual debates in a timely and provocative way.
The book makes a substantial contribution to eighteenth-century studies. Not only do these essays demonstrate that in thinking about cultural production and consumption in the eighteenth century there are important continuities as well as changes that need to be considered, but also they complicate the commonplace assumption of metropolitan-led cultural change and cultural innovation. Rather than the usual model of centre-periphery diffusion, a number of contributions show that cultural change in the provinces was happening at the same time as in, or in some cases even before, London. The essays also indicate the complex relationship between cultural consumption and social status, with some cultural forms being more inclusive than others.
Contents: Introduction, Helen Berry and Jeremy Gregory; Was the North-East different from other areas? The property of everyday consumption in the late 17th and early 18th centuries, Lorna Scammell; North of the Trent: images of northern-ness and northern English in the 18th century, Katie Wales; Spirits in the North-East? Gin and other vices in the long 18th century, J.A. Chartres; The sociability of the trade guilds of Newcastle and Durham, 1660–1750: the urban renaissance revisited, Rebecca King; 'A clumsey Countrey Girl': the material and print culture of Betty Bowes, Adrian Green; An alternative community in north-east England: Quakers, morals and popular culture in the long 18th century, Richard C. Allen; Creating polite space: the organisation and social function of the Newcastle assembly rooms, Helen Berry; Newcastle's first art exhibitions and the language of civic humanism, Paul Usherwood; Index.
Reviews: '... this collection of essays makes an important contribution to our knowledge of the patterns of cultural production and consumption in the North East of England.' Northern History
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