A book which aims to recover William Stead’s extraordinary influence on modern English culture and to mark a major moment in the history of journalism.
When William T Stead died on the Titanic in 1912, he was the most famous Englishman on board. He was one of the inventors of the modern tabloid newspaper. His advocacy of ‘government by journalism’ helped launch military campaigns. His exposé of child prostitution in the ‘Modern Babylon’ of London raised the age of consent in 1885, yet his investigation got him thrown into jail. A campaigner for women’s rights, he was unnerved by the rise of the New Woman. An advocate of World Peace, he promoted huge hikes in defence spending. A political radical and Christian, Stead was also a Spiritualist who took dictation from the dead. A mass of contradictions, he was a crucial figure in the history of the British press. This book of essays, marking the centenary of his death, seeks to recover the story of an extraordinary figure in late Victorian and Edwardian culture.
Contributors: Laurel Brake, Alexis Easley, Roy Greenslade, Ed King, Roger Luckhurst, James Mussell, Deborah Mutch, John Nerone, Tony Nicholson, John Durham Peters, Simon Potter, Justin Sausman, Elizabeth Tilley
Roger Luckhurst is Professor in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Laurel Brake is Professor Emerita at Birkbeck College, University of London.
Ed King recently retired as Head of Newspapers at the British Library.
James Mussell is Lecturer in English at Birmingham University.