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The Politics of HungerProtest, Poverty and Policy in England, c. 1750-c. 1840$
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Carl J. Griffin

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781526145628

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526145635

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Introduction: ‘The unremitted pressure’: On hunger politics

Introduction: ‘The unremitted pressure’: On hunger politics

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction: ‘The unremitted pressure’: On hunger politics
Source:
The Politics of Hunger
Author(s):

Carl J. Griffin

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7765/9781526145635.00006

By the early decades of the eighteenth century the peoples of England, so the received understanding goes, were beyond the ravages of famine. Southern England experienced its last ‘major’ famine in the 1590s, northern England a little later in the 1620s. There is, of course, both a quantitative and a qualitative difference between the experience and effects of mass famine deaths and the fear of hunger. For between being bodily replete with no fear of want in the future to death from want there exists a wide spectrum of hungers. Famine forms one, horrific, end of the spectrum but it is not thespectrum of human experience. This chapter explores these complex understandings and in so doing argues that by fixating on famine – however understandable – we necessarily deny the effects that the fear of perishing from want had on the peoples of England beyond the age of famine.

Keywords:   Famine, Starvation, Hunger, Standard of living, Poor laws

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