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"Novelty fair examines mid-nineteenth-century people, things and places generally understood to be discrete and unrelated: urban fairs and the Great Exhibition, daguerreotypes and ballads, satirical shilling books and government-backed design reform, blackface performers and middle-class paterfamilias. A range of new and neglected sources, drawn mainly from popular culture are used to inform the discussion. The pivotal years between Chartism and the Great Exhibition emerge as far more contested than has previously been recognised and bourgeois forms and strategies are revealed as being under stress in a period that has been seen as a triumphant one for that class. Novelty fair will be of special interest to historians of Chartism, cultural historians interested in the Great Exhibition and design reform and those in the field of Victorian studies, cultural studies and visual culture more generally."

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