Politically radical pamphlet The Man in the Moon was published in 1820 - a time of heightened political tensions following the Peterloo Massacre of August 1819 where peaceful protestors for poltiical reform were killed and hundreds injured. In response, the government passed the repressive 'Six Acts' that compromised freedom of speech and quelled reformist or radical political activity. This excerpt from The Man in the Moon, with its reference to 'steel lozenges' and depiction of cavalrymen attacking protestors, alludes to the Peterloo Massacre. On the right, the Prince Regent, Church and Army hold hands with the devil as they dance around a burning printing press - a symbol of liberty and progress for radicals.
Although published anonymously, William Hone is believed to be the author; illustrations are by George Cruikshank, a frequent collaborator during this period.
- Article by:
- John Mullan
Professor John Mullan analyses how Shelley transformed his political passion, and a personal grudge, into poetry.
- Article by:
- Ruth Mather
- Power and politics, Romanticism
In August 1819 dozens of peaceful protestors were killed and hundreds injured at what became known as the Peterloo Massacre. Ruth Mather examines the origins, response and aftermath of this key early 19th century political event.