Writers of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries—a period of vast economic change—recognized the global trade in alcohol and tobacco promised a brighter financial future for England, even as overindulgence at home posed serious moral pitfalls. This engaging and original study explores how literary satirists represented these consumables—and related anxieties about the changing nature of Britishness—in their work. Riley traces the satirical treatment of wine, beer, ale, gin, pipe tobacco, and snuff from the beginning of Charles II’s reign, through the boom in tobacco’s popularity, to the end of the Gin Craze in libertine poems and plays, anonymous verse, ballad operas, and the satire of canonical writers such as Gay, Pope, and Swift. Focusing on consumption and resultant social concerns about class, race, and gender, Consuming Anxieties examines how satirists championed Britain’s economic strength on the world stage while critiquing the effects of these consumable luxuries on the British body and consciousness.
About the Author
Dayne C. Riley is assistant director of the University of Tulsa’s Oklahoma Center for the Humanities. He lives in Tulsa with his wife and dogs.