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Lords of Misrule

Flamboyant, cultured and refined, aristocracy is often seen as a national treasure. Lords of Misrule takes a different view and considers the role of an aristocracy behaving badly. This is a book about the political, social and moral failings of aristocracy and the ways in which they have featured in political rhetoric. Drawing on the views of critics of aristocracy, it explores the dark side of power without responsibility. Less 'patrician paragons' than dissolute and debauched debtors, the aristocrats featured here undermined, rather than augmented, the fabric of national life. For the first time, Lords of Misrule recaptures the views of those radicals and reformers who were prepared to contemplate a Britain without aristocrats.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Aristocratic Debauchery and Working-Class Virtue: The Case of Colonel Valentine Baker 'The Apostle of Plunder': The Influence of Henry George in England Reconsidered Hunting, Moral Outrage, and Radical Opposition to Animal Abuse in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain 'Lords of Misrule': Liberalism, the House of Lords, and the Campaign Against Privilege Plutocracy Conclusions Appendices Bibliography

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About the Author

Antony Taylor is Senior Lecturer in History at Sheffield Hallam University, UK. He has written widely in the field of Nineteenth Century politics, and is author of Down with the Crown: British Anti-monarchism and Debates about Royalty since 1790 (Reaktion, 1999).


'Without question, the British aristocracy had staying power. But as Antony Taylor demonstrates so well, the aristocracy's position did not go unchallenged. In Lords of Misrule , he offers a stunning reminder of the strong anti-aristocratic currents that ran through late nineteenth and early twentieth-century British popular politics. Instead of the nostalgia so often associated with aristocratic culture, Taylor reasserts the importance of the radical critique of aristocratic privilege, power, and moral authority. His book is an important addition to the political and social history of modern Britain.' - Professor James A. Epstein, Vanderbilt University

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