The English Townsman

By Thomas Burke


Shortly before his recent untimely death Thomas Burke completed the manuscript of The English Townsman.

Essentially a townsman himself, the present work forms an especially fitting valediction for Burke, for in it he upholds the view that the life of the Townsman is no less natural or traditional than that of the countryman. Readers of the companion works on English Night Life, Travel in England and The Streets of London will not need to be reminded of the liveliness, erudition and novelty of quotation with which Burke works out his thesis.

Beginning in medieval times the story is carried through the Stuart, Georgian and Victorian periods to its conclusion with The Citizen of To-day. The hundred and more illustrations taken from little-known drawings, medieval MSS, prints, paintings and modern photographs make up a commentary on the text which is as apt as it is entertaining. Pictures and text together give the same enthusiastic support for the way of life of the English Townsman, from a twentieth-century viewpoint, as did Charles Lamb and Samuel Johnson from the viewpoints of the preceding two centuries.

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