London Lives is a fascinating study that exposes the lesser-known experiences of eighteenth-century thieves, paupers, prostitutes and highwaymen. It charts the experiences of hundreds of thousands of Londoners who found themselves submerged in poverty or prosecuted for crime, and surveys their responses, to illustrate the extent to which plebeian Londoners influenced the pace and direction of change in social policy.
Calling upon a new body of digital evidence, the book illuminates the lives of prison escapees, expert manipulators of poor relief, celebrity highwaymen, lone mothers and vagrants; revealing how they each played the system to the best of their ability in order to survive in their various circumstances of misfortune. In these acts of desperation, the poor and the criminal exercised a profound and effective form of agency that changed the system itself, and shaped the evolution of the modern state.
In this new, attractively designed open access digital edition, readers can easily search and follow links both within the text, and to external websites containing the primary and secondary sources on which the argument is based. This format facilitates a new approach to reading monographs, in which readers switch back and forth between the original sources, the contextual secondary interpretation, and the monograph itself - gaining a deeper understanding of the period and argument. [×]