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Illustrations Abbreviations Introduction Part I. 'A New Area in Our History': 1. The people's Enlightenment: the radical diffusion of knowledge in the late eighteenth century 2. Writing for their country: the plebeian public sphere in the 1790s 3. The pax femina? Hannah More, counter-revolution, and the politics of female agency Part II. 'Virtuous Public Excitement': 4. The Palladium of liberty: radical journalism and repression in the postwar era 5. 'Democratic fervour and journal ascendancy': popular culture and the 'unstamped' wars of the 1830s Part III. A Literature of Their Own: 6. The Chartist revolution 7. Fathers of the cheap press or 'able speculators'? Edward Lloyd and George W. M. Reynolds 8. The rights and wrongs of women 9. Acts of oblivion: 1848 and after.