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Landscape without labour: A study of the view of nature and the agricultural labourer in the 'quality' journals 1859 - 1900

Richardson, A. M. (1980) Landscape without labour: A study of the view of nature and the agricultural labourer in the 'quality' journals 1859 - 1900. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94608) (KAR id:94608)


This thesis studies the way in which the 'quality' journals of the period 1859-1900 presented nature to their readers, and how the agricultural labourer at a time of unionisation was seen by them. The question addressed to this material is : did the agricultural unrest, which focused on the labourers, cause the existing languages and forms used to carry a rural leisure interest in the journals, to change creating new forms and languages which encompassed and were sympathetic to the labourer? The work is divided into three sections. Section I introduces the material and gives a history of the 'quality' journals, paying particular attention to their role as opinion formers and to their readership. Section II sets out the three major leisure pursuits in nature, promoted by the 'quality' journals. These are called "aesthetic", "scientific" and "hedonist" and discuss the writings and the assumptions behind the writing on landscape art, natural science and hunting. The labourer is virtually excluded by the writers in this section. Section III focuses attention on the labourer and shows the response of the 'quality' press to their unionisation. Chapter Six shows a change in language which encompassed the labourer achieved by Frederick Clifford a reporter for The Times. Chapter Seven discusses the work of several rural clergymen who wrote to the press on behalf of the labourer. As so many of the writers discussed appeared to present fictional labourers, a look at 'genuine' fictional labourers is taken in Chapter Eight. The third section culminates in the work of Richard Jefferies and a second change of language is shown. The conclusion discusses the limited way in which language changed in the 'quality journals and considerĀ«-that we have still not reconciled the antitheses of rural myth and rural reality in the 20th century.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.94608
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 25 April 2022 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: quality journals, agricultural labourers
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN4699 Journalism
D History General and Old World > D History (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 09 May 2023 10:46 UTC
Last Modified: 09 May 2023 10:46 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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