By Richard Ingrams

ISBN-10: 0007389264

ISBN-13: 9780007389261

Publish yr note: initially released June twentieth 2005
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A remarkably perceptive and bright lifetime of considered one of England's maximum radicals.

The early years of the 19th-century have been ones of distress and oppression. the typical humans have been compelled into stipulations of maximum poverty by way of enclosures and the rural Revolution, and the lengthy Tory management of Lord Liverpool observed its activity as retaining legislation and order in any respect charges. the reason for reform was once a deadly one, as William Cobbett used to be to find.

Cobbett is better recognized for his ‘Rural Rides’, a vintage account of early-19th-century Britain which hasn't ever been out of print. yet he used to be a far larger determine than that means, being the main satirist and proponent of reform of the time. He had a style for frightening the deceit and conceit of the supposedly reliable and nice, and had an abiding hatred of the institution, or ‘The Thing’, as he christened it. within the pages of his ‘Political Register’ he lambasted corruption and excoriated hypocrisy, and used to be ceaselessly in worry of prosecution for libel, for which he was once despatched to Newgate criminal for 2 years, which was once the reason for his financial disaster and compelled him to escape to America.

For all that the institution loathed and feared him, the folks enjoyed him, and he used to be greeted by way of adoring crowds anyplace he went. He was once a hero of his time, and Richard Ingram’s admirable biography is either really apt, relocating, occasionally humorous and constantly totally attractive.

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Extra info for The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett

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Rousseau, the first great thinker to stress the primacy of feeling over thinking, remains a founding father of the Romantic Movement, of which we remain in many ways the nearly bankrupt heirs. The Green Movement, now perhaps the only true challenge to global industrialism, in part inherits Rousseau’s belief in nature’s pristine perfection and his consequent distrust of technology and large organizations. But the self-delusion, self-pity and paranoia dominating his life are hardly the qualities we might hope for in a green guru.

Whenever there was a noise at night, I would start from by bed and grab my sword and pistol, which I always kept loaded. ’ Even worse than his opinion of himself was his opinion of others, especially women: Women are suited to being the nurses and teachers of our childhood precisely because they themselves are childish, silly and short-sighted, in a word, big children their whole lives long; a kind of intermediate stage between the child and man, who is the actual human being ‘man’ . . Only a male intellect clouded by the sexual urge could call the stunted, narrow-shouldered, broad-hipped and short-legged sex the fair sex .

Rousseau’s paranoia grew ever worse as he wandered from town to town, at times encountering difficulties with the authorities, although he was never arrested. In this over-excited condition he continued writing his longest masterpiece, his Confessions. The title deliberately echoes St Augustine’s famous Confessions of AD 397, but Rousseau’s aim was very different from the great theologian’s. Augustine’s Confessions were primarily addressed to God and recounted his many past sins and subsequent salvation, through God’s grace, from a state of sin.

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The Life and Adventures of William Cobbett by Richard Ingrams


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