Capitalist Realism of the Mid-Nineteenth Century

You saw nothing in Coketown but what was severely workful. If the members of a religious persuasion built a chapel there — as the members of eighteen religious persuasions had done — they made it a pious wwarehouse of red brick, with sometimes *but this only in highly ornamented examples) a bell in a bird-cage on top of it. … All the public inscriptions in the town were painted alike, in severe characters of black and white. The jail might have been the infirmary, the infirmary might have been the jail, the town-hall might have been either, or both, or anything else, for anything that appeared to the contrary in the graces of their construction. Fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the material aspects of the town; fact, fact, fact, everywhere in the immaterial…. Everything was fact between the lying-in hospital and the cemetery, and what you couldn’t state in figures, or show to be purchaseable in the cheapest market and saleable in the dearest, was not and never should be, world without end, amen.

Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854)

The town realises in a measure the utopia of Bentham. Everything is measured in its results by the standards of utility; and if the BEAUTIFUL, the GREAT, and the NOBLE ever take root in Manchester, they will be developed in accordance with this standard.

Léon Faucher, Manchester in 1844 (1844)

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