Issue 2 (January 2020):

Resistance in the Long-Nineteenth Century

Resisting mechanisation? Reading Shortshanks’ ‘The March of Intellect’     (c. 1828) through the lenses of Daniel and Edward Irving.
Helen-Frances Dessain (Independent Scholar)
March of Intellect, Seymour, Irving, Mechanisation, Daniel, 1820s.
One of the most celebrated March of Intellect prints from the 1820s was created by Robert Seymour: a man-machine strides across the page, sweeping away abuses with its Brougham, and saving the people by the spread of knowledge from its printing press legs. However, such a reading ignores the nuancing of the image by the caption. This article will proffer a detailed reading of the image through the caption via two different lenses: a probable source text from the Old Testament book of Daniel and the preaching of Edward Irving. Through such an exploration, this paper will argue that whilst Seymour’s print is a sharp critique on those who claimed that mechanistic philosophies would solve the abuses of the day, it is complicated by the caption being framed as Irving-esque speech. Whether this print was a critique on mechanistic philosophies or fanatical preaching, Seymour left for his viewers to decide..
Author Biography:

Helen-Frances Dessain is an independent historian of science and technology in the nineteenth century with particular interest in steam technology, travel and astronomy. She studied History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge and has published reviews in The Glass and the BAVS Newsletter. 



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Romance, Revolution and Reform is an interdisciplinary PGR-led  journal specialising in the long-nineteenth century and run in association with the Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research.

The Journal is committed to helping new researchers publish their work in addition to acting as a forum for the discussion of new ideas in the field of nineteenth-century Studies.

ISSN 2517-7850


Editor in Chief: Emma Hills

Deputy Editor: Gemma Holgate

University of Southampton, UK

SO17 1BJ


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