Crafters, Chartists and spiritualists are brought together in this account of radical protest and reform in the 19th century”Victoria’s Madmen” is a misleading title, since virtually no one in Clive Bloom’s book appears to be suffering from a serious mental health disorder. There is hardly an asylum in sight, and you’ll search in vain for a straitjacket. But take “mad” in its American sense and you begin to have a thesis. For it turns out that most of the people who pop up in Bloom’s book are Very Cross Indeed. Not specifically with Queen Victoria, although some of them aren’t above taking pot shots at the little lady. No, what really annoys these grumblers and growlers is the sheer wrongness of everything that is going on around them.This, then, is a history of Britain’s counterculture during the 19th century. True to its anarchic type, it is a sprawling, messy thing. Into this carnival of the terminally disgruntled, Bloom marshals violent Chartists, genteel arts and crafters, wafty spiritualists, explosive syndicalists, people who don’t eat meat and others who feel perfectly entitled to kill their own flesh and blood. Everyone, in fact, who believes that they don’t fit in and, rather than …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books