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Trevelyan: English Social History: Sources

Trevelyan is here talking in broad and general terms, which accounts for the lack of footnotes; elsewhere his book is copiously footnoted. However, he is not just summarising an argument explained in full elsewhere: he is making a number of claims about the attitudes of town and country dwellers. The only evidence he offers is a single line from Wordsworth which is hardly proof without further corroboration. Moreover, he makes claims which look like statements of fact but are in fact pure assertion in his part: it may be difficult to feel affection for a slum, but it is going too far to assert that affection ‘could not’ be transferred to them from the old country cottage; meanwhile his final claim, that it is impossible to feel affection for a workman’s flat, is pure assertion, with no supporting evidence of any kind, and is contradicted by much evidence about the feelings of those who moved into workers’ flats at different points in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

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