The condition of the working class in England in 1844 is generally agreed to be a "classic". Almost nothing has been done to demonstrate concretely what kind of book The Condition of the Working Class in England is, what makes it outstanding among works of its kind and of its time. Or to elucidate those qualities of mind that render it after such a considerable interval of history so readable, so moving, so vividly living a document. The first thing to observe is that such a question is extremely complex. And the first requirement in setting about to answer it is to recognize that complexity. The second is to locate the work in certain relevant contexts. Since its central and most important sections have to do with Manchester, and with Engels' experience of it, the first of these contexts is supplied by contemporary observations of that place—by visitors and travelers both English and foreign.