Poor migrants made up a growing class of workers in late sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. By 1650, half of England's rural population consisted of homeless and itinerant laborers. "Unsettled" is an ambitious attempt to reconstruct the everyday lives of these dispossessed people. Patricia Fumerton offers a portrait of unsettledness in early modern England that includes the homeless and housed alike. Fumerton begins by building on recent studies of vagrancy, poverty, and servants, placing all in the light of a new domestic economy of mobility. She then looks at representations of the vagrant in a variety of pamphlets and literary works of the period. Since seamen were a particularly large and prominent class of mobile wage-laborers in the seventeenth century, Fumerton turns to seamen generally and to an individual poor seaman as a case study of the unsettled subject: Edward Barlow (b. 1642) provides a rare opportunity to see how the laboring poor fashioned themselves because he authored a journal of over 225,000 words and 147 pages of drawings.
Barlow's journal, studied extensively here for the first time, vividly charts what he himself termed his "unsettled mind" and the perpetual anxieties of England's working and wayfaring poor.
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(228mm x 181mm x 18mm)
University of Chicago Press
Publisher: The University of Chicago Press
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Author Biography - Patricia Fumerton
Patricia Fumerton is professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is the author of Cultural Aesthetics; Renaissance Literature and the Practice of Social Ornament and coeditor of Renaissance Culture and the Everyday.