Friday, August 26, 2022

Wat Tyler in Charles Dickens's "Bleak House"

A figure runs through Charles Dickens's "Bleak House" (1853) as Sir Leicester Dedlock's nightmare, "some person in the lower classes" who might "rise up somewhere – like Wat Tyler." Tyler was the leader of the 1381 Peasants' Revolt in England; he led a few thousand rebels to London and confronted King Richard II with his demands. When Tyler was killed, the revolt fell apart and many of the participants were executed. Sir Leicester associates Tyler not with  peasants, though, but with "people in the iron districts", such as the successful ironmaster son of his housekeeper Mrs. Rouncewell. The danger in Dickens's time came not from the peasantry but from the industrial workers. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 26 August 2022)

No comments: