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By Accident or DesignWriting the Victorian Metropolis$
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Paul Fyfe

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198732334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198732334.001.0001

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Street Literature and the Remediation of Accident

Street Literature and the Remediation of Accident

(p.132) 4 Street Literature and the Remediation of Accident
By Accident or Design

Paul Fyfe

Oxford University Press

Accidents were favourite subjects for the enterprising publishers of broadsides and ballads—ephemeral publications that were often sung and sold on the streets themselves. Such street literature was part of a rising tide of cheap, popular literature or ‘reading for the million’ as it was variously called by middle-class writers who sneered at the seeming randomness of its production, contents, and circulation. But randomness expresses an important feature of Victorian print media at mid-century: how it becomes a chaotic system organized by the contingencies of modern urban life. The remediation of accident reveals how Victorian popular print became the ‘new media’ of its moment.

Keywords:   Victorian, periodicals, ephemera, broadsides, ballads, street literature, remediation, new media, metropolitan

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