Nearly Out of Heart and Hope: The Puzzle of a Colonial Labourer's Diary

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Auckland University Press, 1995 - Biography & Autobiography - 275 pages
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This original and thought-provoking book is based on the 800,000-word diary of James Cox, an itinerant labourer living in New Zealand between 1880 and 1925. Cox's diary is a rare record of the daily life of a permanent member of the colonial working class - nothing like it exists in a New Zealand archive and little elsewhere. Rather than reproducing selections of the somewhat down-to-earth diary entries, Fairburn uses it more interestingly, taking the life of this obscure and unimportant man to explore in novel and ambitious ways some issues in writing and understanding nineteenth-century New Zealand history, colonial societies and working-class experience.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
THE STORY
25
The English Background
27
Initial Optimism 188090
39
Uncertain Times 189192
50
Days of Darkness 189293
58
With Skey and Spooner 18931902
74
Decline 190218
92
Why Poverty?
142
The World of Ideology
163
UNRAVELLING THE THREADS
185
Broken Threads
187
A Stronger Thread?
208
The World of Adjustments
226
Notes
242
Selective Bibliography
266

Death
108
THE PUZZLE
117
The Meaning of Poverty
119

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About the author (1995)

Miles Fairburn is senior lecturer in history at Victoria University of Wellington.

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