Between 1832 and 1834, Harriet Martineau published a series of 24 short stories meant to illustrate the social and political problems arising from England's free-market economy: overpopulation, strife between workers and factory owners, the hardships of working-class life, and more. Though considered politically extreme by some, the series was wildly successful with readers, and went on to inform the later fiction of socially conscious authors including Charles Dickens and Elizabeth Gaskell.
It was, we see now, a banner moment in this history of Victorian literature, when politics began to inform fiction. Martineau's writings-often difficult to find in print and here presented in beautiful new editions-are essential reading for students of the 19th-century English novel.
Volume III of Illustrations of Political Economy features the tales:
. "A Manchester Strike"
. "Cousin Marshall"
Pioneering English writer and feminist HARRIET MARTINEAU (1802-1876) has been called the first female sociologist and the first female journalist in England. She is also the author of Society in America (1837) and How to Observe Morals and Manners (1838).