Well, I'm not reading The White Tiger yet, that's for sure, not enough time to investigate new novels at the moment, no, for me it's one of the classics, I'm reading Felix Holt - Radical by George Eliot - as well as plenty of non-fiction into nineteenth century factory conditions and legislation. (!) Yes, the two go hand in hand somewhat, although Eliot was in such a different league, head and shoulders above her contemporaries - contrasting sharply with Dickens' Hard Times, which Eliot criticised for lacking in psychological depth (it was Dickens who had characters like Gradgrind, whose name was supposed to say everything you needed to know about his character, he thought, what did she expect?), and Gaskell's Mary Barton, both of which represented the working-class in a terribly shallow manner, as if all members of the newly conscious working-classes were identical to each other, (with the exception of the immigrant Irish who were treated as though they were apes, i.e. not fully human, not just by a few we can safely assume were racist and ignorant, but was a widespread view throughout the country and its media), and that everything would be ok as long as they remembered the place that God had alloted them (i.e. the scrapheap) and Bosses showed their appreciation a bit more by letting their white slaves work twelve hours a day instead of sixteen or whatever it was. In terms of attitude and levels of intelligence surely the nineteenth century can, in so many ways, be seen as a regression from the eighteenth. Would the nineteenth had dared publish Defoe, Richardson or Fielding?

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