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Cockayne, Emily 1973-

Cockayne, Emily 1973-


Born 1973; married. Education: Graduated from Girton College, Cambridge, 1994; earned Ph.D.


Office—Open University in the East Midlands, Clarendon Park, Clumber Ave., Sherwood Rise, Nottingham NG5 1AH, England; fax: 44-115-971-5575. Agent—Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates, 18-21 Cavaye Place, London SW10 9PT, England.


Academic. Open University in the East Midlands, Nottingham, England, research associate and associate lecturer. Prize fellow in modern history, Magdalen College, Oxford, 1999.


Cambridge Members' History Prize, 1997, for dissertation.


Hubbub: Filth, Noise, & Stench in England 1600-1770, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 2007.

Contributor to Historical Journal.


Emily Cockayne is an academic. Cockayne was born in 1973 and went on to earn a Ph.D. after completing her undergraduate studies in history at Girton College, Cambridge, in 1994. Her dissertation was awarded the Cambridge Members' History Prize in 1997. She is a research associate and associate lecturer at the Open University in the East Midlands in Nottingham, England.

Cockayne published her first book, Hubbub: Filth, Noise, & Stench in England 1600-1770, in 2007. The book examines seventeenth-century England, showing that the quality of living was quite low due to the ease of spreading of diseases, the lack of sanitation and knowledge of such concerns, and the mismanagement of urban dwellers' rights as the cities grew with newer technologies.

Andrew Holgate, writing in the London Times, commented that "the nature of her inquiry does, however, lead to problems. This is not a book of statistics, but of opinions, and judging whether her cast of disgruntled eye-witnesses are level-headed citizens or apoplectic Victor Meldrews is difficult." Holgate observed that "Hubbub remains a thoroughly entertaining read, one whose greatest pleasures lie in the extraordinary accumulation of incidental detail to be found in its teeming pages." Making particular mention of stories on false teeth and pavement, Holgate concluded that "it's small insights such as these that make Hubbub, despite its drawbacks, such an appealing book to read." David Honigman, writing in the Financial Times, found that "time and again, the chapters expose the real tension of cities: that of externalities." Christopher Hawtree, writing in the London Independent, suggested that "few can have the stamina to take this digest at a sitting. It is best enjoyed, greatly so, as a series of essays in which one's sensations are heightened." Hawtree concluded that "Hubbub is a testament to a human spirit which created masterpieces by candlelight. Time and again it displays the ingenuity, humour—and profit-motive—which surmount obstacles to the quest for greater comfort. Here is a reminder that, in our own time, much of the world endures far worse. To lack the latest variant of Play Station is not a deprivation." Writing in the Literary Review, Christopher Hart opened by saying that "this book inhabits a grubby and squalid world, truffling out details that are vivid, colourful and sometimes downright nauseous. It's a veritable feast of filth and foulness, and I loved every minute of it. The chapter titles tell you immediately what to expect: ‘Itchy,’ ‘Mouldy,’ ‘Noisy,’ ‘Grotty,’ ‘Dirty.’"

Scott H. Silverman, writing in Library Journal, observed that "Cockayne has produced a lively, witty, and provocatively illustrated history that is only slightly flawed." A contributor to SciTech Book News said that the book is "marvelous stuff, unless you are a fop." David Aikman, writing in the Weekly Standard, remarked that "Hubbub is revelatory and as amusing as its author." Aikman also commented that "this volume is a useful corrective to unrealistic modern suppositions about urban life in jolly old England as a frolicsome idyll of handsome beaux and Jane Austen heroines. Many of the inhabitants of its pages are curmudgeonly grouches, and even some of their complaints will strike modern readers as unrealistic outrage at—well, life itself in the 18th century. Cockayne dwells almost lovingly on some of the more grotesque uglinesses of daily life in that era, and the reader is left wondering if the main purpose of the book isn't a tad voyeuristic." Philippa Stockley, writing in the Spectator, noted that "for those with a cheerful predilection towards grime, grunge, and disease, the torrent that follows is riveting. Within chapters headed Ugly, Itchy, Mouldy, Noisy, Grotty, Busy, Dirty, and Gloomy, Cockayne rolls like a pig in a delicious vat of mud."



American Spectator, September, 2007, Florence King, review of Hubbub: Filth, Noise, & Stench in England 1600-1770, p. 66.

Architectural Review, August, 2007, Robert Harbison, review of Hubbub, p. 86.

Financial Times, April 13, 2007, David Honigmann, review of Hubbub.

History Magazine, August 1, 2007, review of Hubbub, p. 44.

I.D., September 1, 2007, Julie Lasky, Jill Singer and Monica Khemsurov, review of Hubbub, p. 99.

Independent (London, England), May 6, 2007, Christopher Hawtree, review of Hubbub.

JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, January 2, 2008, Christopher Hamlin, review of Hubbub, p. 101.

Library Journal, May 15, 2007, Scott H. Silverman, review of Hubbub, p. 100.

Literary Review, March, 2007, Christopher Hart, review of Hubbub.

New Criterion, September, 2007, Alexandra Mullen, review of Hubbub, p. 70.

SciTech Book News, June, 2007, review of Hubbub.

Spectator, April 7, 2007, Philippa Stockley, review of Hubbub.

Times (London, England), April 8, 2007, Andrew Holgate, review of Hubbub.

Times Literary Supplement, July 13, 2007, Clare Clark, review of Hubbub, p. 24.

Weekly Standard, July 9, 2007, David Aikman, review of Hubbub.


Open University in the East Midlands Web site, (March 13, 2008), author profile.

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