Cornhill Magazine,  5 (1862), 70–83.


[J Fitzjames Stephen]




Mechanics, Artisans, Education, Reading, Class, Status

    Correcting the images of 'working men [...] embodying profound observations in studiously bad grammar' found in the novels of Charles J H Dickens, Charles Kingsley and Elizabeth C Gaskell, Stephen suggests that 'Any one who is accustomed to watch the way in which real mechanics and labourers talk, speak, and argue, and to observe the tone of the books and newspapers which they really like to read, will see there is more difference, and a more durable difference, between minds which have and have not been formed by a liberal education than between the bodies of a sedentary invalid and a trained invalid' (78). The 'real intelligent mechanic is not an uncouth Titan, struggling against Etnas which society has piled up against him', merely 'a sturdy, ingenious, sensitive man, with a little knowledge and narrow and slightly made opinions' (78–79).

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