With hideous face, and tuneless note, A ballad-singer strains his throat; Roars out the life of Betty Saunders, With Turpin Dick, and Molly Flanders; Tells many woeful tragic stories, Recorded of our British worthies.
British Library Selects Reynolds’s News and Miscellany for Inclusion in Digital Archive | Stephen Basdeo
“The British Library would like to archive your website in the UK Web Archive and to make it publicly available … It contains specially selected websites that represent different aspects of UK heritage.”
I defy any living soul to refute Thomas Paine’s arguments. I have read answers to them, and attempts at refutation; but none succeed–all sink into the ground.
George R. Stewart’s novel Earth Abides grapples with the question of what shape society will take after a deadly pandemic kills off most of the earth’s population.
The greatest and most fatal error in the annals of the world was suffering the growth and formation of an Aristocracy; it is the direst plague with which this earth is cursed, filling it with eternal bitterness.
G.W.M. Reynolds launched a personal crusade against army brutality, speaking out against it in both his fiction and his journalism.
She preferred grief to ignorance, death to slavery. She seized with a bold hand the guarded fruit, and moved the man to participate in her act of daring. The All-powerful chastised both, banished them.
His memory, unrelieved by one noble trait, one magnanimous action, or one pure sentiment, comes down to us in chronicles, lay and secular, as one violent and tyrannical. A perfidious friend, an encroaching neighbour, a heartless and ungenerous relation.
This poem “The Good Old Times” was written in 1849 and printed in Reynolds’s Miscellany; it mocks the idea that things were better in the past.
Socialism “is one of those primordial indestructible ideas, which the hand of God has engraved in human consciences, and which are perpetuated from age to age, and whose development forms an unbroken tradition through the world’s ages.”
Pierce Egan the Younger was a novelist and journalist who lived between 1814 and 1880. The author of several popular novels, he occasionally wrote poetry, such as the one below which originally appeared in the Home Circle about an emigrant who misses home.
Michiel Sweerts (1618–64) was a Flemish painter who specialised in genre paintings, portraits, and allegorical paintings. He greater part of the 1640s in Rome, during which time there was an outbreak of plague in the city which inspired him to paint this scene.
Legend has it that Ragnar composed his “Death Song” as he lay in the pit of snakes waiting to die, the sentence upon him having been passed by the Anglo-Saxon Northumbrian King Aelle. Stephen Basdeo examines the publication of this ancient song.
“I venture to predict the following improvements: Improvements which time may verify when the hand that now writes them, has long mouldered in the clammy soil.”
Humans have always expressed a ‘fear of the end’ in literary and artistic terms. The first apocalypse stories in Western culture came to us from the Bible, with Noah’s Flood giving us the archetypal ‘last man’ or ‘small group of survivors’ motif that has persisted in many retellings of the end times.
Google News is a news aggregator, developed in 2006, which collates the daily feeds of over 20,000 news publishers’ content. Compared to that huge number, Reynolds’s News and Miscellany admittedly looks like “small fry”. But Google’s rules for inclusion in Google News are quite strict.
The Reform League organised several rallies. At one of the Reform League’s major rallies, held in Trafalgar Square and attended by old-school militant radicals, the speakers began calling on working men to organise a general strike. Another ‘monster meeting’ held in May 1867 was so large that, despite being banned by the government, the police did not dare to intervene. The prospect of violence and armed conflict was rearing its head and it was all beginning to feel like 1848 again.
The scene is one of confusion as dead bodies lay in the street. In this picture, however, God looks on from above—does he feel sympathy for the plague victims, has he caused it, or is he simply indifferent?
The social anarchy resulting from plague are obviously a mainstay of pop culture depictions; times of crisis often bring out the worst in humanity. Yet they can also bring out the best in humanity as well, and it is one human, at his best and most heroic, whom Antoine-Jean Gros decided to represent on canvas in 1804. The man was Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of the French.
Nicolas Poussin (1594–1655) was born in Normandy, France and received a basic education before running away to Paris at the age of eighteen to become an artist. Having spent some time in Paris under the tutelage of several French and Flemish artists where he honed his craft. Poussin specialised in painting religious scenes as well as depictions of the classical era.
Plague, or Yersinia pestis, has “plagued” humankind throughout history. Since at least the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian in the 500s—and likely for much longer before that—it has claimed millions of lives. This section presents the voices of people throughout history who have recorded their experiences of the plague and who have also represented it in popular culture.
A poem originally written by Susannah Frances Reynolds and published in the Teetotaler. Transcribed by Stephen Basdeo and Jessica Elizabeth Thomas
Presented here is an abridged version of Mary Shelley’s post-apocalyptic pandemic novel “The Last Man” (1826). The plague makes its way across the world killing all in its path and eventually arrives in England. Many of the motifs we find in modern-day apocalypse movies can be found in Shelley’s novel: lawlessness and rioting, the rise of religious madmen, the hoarding of food, and scenes of desolate towns and cities. The extract presented here is a highly abridged one which provides an overview of how Shelley imagined the end of the world as ushered in by a pandemic.
The notary sank upon a chair, gazed wildly at that brother whom he had never wished to encounter more, and in whose presence he so singularly and unexpectedly found himself: Alfred de Moirot crossed his arms on his breast, and returned the timid glance of the notary with one of scorn, indignation, and reproach. The Baroness and de Montville exchanged looks of mingled satisfaction and anxiety.