OverviewBrian Maidment reads popular prints as complex commodities, through which one can understand historical events and social change. The events covered in the book include: a fire in a corn mill in 1791; the rise of the 'educated dustman' as a symbol of proletarian cultural development in the 1820s and 30s; and working men returning home to their families in the 1850s. In each chapter a startlingly wide range of images is assembled - metal and wood engravings, lithographs, woodcuts, etchings, water-colours and drawings - to show the different ways that historical events can be represented.Students of the period, whether in English studies, art history or social history, will find the prints themselves fascinating indices of changing attitudes to gender, politics, the family, education and industrialisation. This book also offers undergraduates, research students and interested readers easy access to the critical issues and methodological complexities raised by the interpretation of popular graphic images from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.This second edition in paperback has been updated, and has a number of new illustrations. It is the perfect introduction for students who seek to understand and to 'read' mass circulation images.