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Commemorating PeterlooViolence, Resilience, and Claim-making during the Romantic Era$
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Michael Demson and Regina Hewitt

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474428569

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474428569.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 29 June 2022

The Sounds of Peterloo

The Sounds of Peterloo

(p.57) Chapter 2 The Sounds of Peterloo
Commemorating Peterloo

Ian Haywood

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter focuses on an overlooked aspect of the Peterloo massacre: its soundscape. While much critical attention has been given to radical discourse and print culture in early nineteenth-century Britain, there has been less focus on the material question of how the 'voice' of the people was projected, heard, and contested, both in reality and in representations. Not only was Peterloo a cacophony of politically symbolic sounds ranging from marching bands and alternative patriotic songs to the 'bad' sublime of the screaming multitude, it was also an aural earthquake that generated noisy aftershocks throughout the cultural sphere - in P. B. Shelley's words (as he lay asleep in Italy), it was an 'eloquent' volcano. The paper will look at range of verbal and visual texts, including caricature, to investigate the soundscape and 'soundtrack' of one of the later Romantic period's loudest and most resonant events.

Keywords:   Peterloo, Shelley, Percy Bysshe, soundscape, sublime, voice of the people, caricature, soundtrack, cacophony

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