Lords of Misrule

Hostility to Aristocracy in Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Britain


Lords of Misrule reclaims the rhetoric of hostility to aristocracy in Britain. Frequently dismissed as an aspect of the underdeveloped nature of British socialism, anti-aristocratic sentiment is sometimes seen as an immature expression of politics. This book takes a different view. Anti-aristocratic ideas demonstrate the continuities within popular radicalism. Opposition to privilege and the landed elite reframed the Land Question, and touched long-standing concerns about the dispossession of the English peasantry. Through a close scrutiny of aristocratic immorality, the gentry's monopoly of land, opposition to hunting, and historical controversies about the House of Lords, hostility to aristocracy emerges as central, rather than peripheral, to the popular politics of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Consideration of anti-aristocratic ideas provides an alternative avenue for the understanding of pre-labourist radicalism, and, informed by imperial perspectives and recent work on literacy, broadens the parameters of the historiography of popular reformism in Britain.
  • Palgrave Macmillan; November 2004
  • ISBN 9780230514003
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Lords of Misrule
  • Author: Taylor, Antony, Dr
  • Imprint: Palgrave Macmillan

In The Press

'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

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).