Date of Award


First Advisor

Daniel Neilson

Second Advisor

Bernard Rodgers

Third Advisor

Jan Hutchinson


In order to observe a society and its evolution, it is necessary to understand the most fundamental aspects of the society as if it is one's own. Novels, compared to numbers, are much closer to these fundamentals. This thesis analyzes the economic effects of 19th century English Industrial Revolution through literature in the first three chapters: daily life, social mobility and urbanization. This thesis also evaluates how much the English experience is really a global experience. Post-1970s China serves as a contrasting example in the fourth chapter, which briefly discusses how China may learn from the global experience and improve the Chinese industrialization process in its final period. Literary works used in this thesis include Charles Dickens' Hard Times, Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, Peter Hessler's River Town, Country Driving and the Chinese author Yu Hua's To Live.

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