Published in 1832, Illustrations of Political Economy established Harriet Martineau as both a successful and controversial author and a pioneer of nineteenth-century "social problem" writing. This widely read series of didactic stories popularized political economy, making it accessible to audiences by vividly dramatizing issues such as overpopulation and labour strikes. Illustrations of Political Economy marks a pivotal moment in which literature and politics came together, laying the foundation for the realism and social commentary of later Victorian novels.This Broadview edition contains a critical introduction and a rich selection of historical documents, including contemporary reviews of Illustrations and writings on population growth, factory conditions, and working-class life.
Deborah Anna Logan is an Associate Professor of English at Western Kentucky University. She is the author of Fallenness in Victorian Women's Writing: Marry, Stitch, Die, or Do Worse (1998) and The Hour and the Woman: Harriet Martineau's 'Somewhat Remarkable' Life (2002). She is also the editor of Writings on Slavery and the American Civil War by Harriet Martineau (2002) and Harriet Martineau's Writing on the British Empire (2004).