This volume is the outcome of a substantial project inspired by the shared interests of a team of academics in British and American universities. The primary aim of the editors’ collective research was to present and contextualise a tradition of labouring-class poetry in the period 1800–1900, which had hitherto been inadequately presented or marginalised. The task of literary recuperation involved has succeeded in recovering an astonishingly fertile and multi-stranded corpus of poetry by self-taught writers. Most of the poems included here have not been reprinted since their original publication and are therefore offered to new readers for fresh evaluation. The generic diversity and discursive range of the work by the 25 poets presented in the edition, attests to the passion, ambition and giftedness of writers who have been unjustly occluded by the literary hegemony. Endurance must also be appended to the list of their virtues, for as labouring-class radical and visionary Gerald Massey, states, ‘poverty is a cold place to write poetry in’. Nevertheless, the extent and diversity of tone, theme and poetic form here is a powerful indicator of their literary achievement and an incentive for further exploration of an extraordinarily rich seam of cultural history.
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publisher||Pickering and Chatto|
|Number of pages||1424|
|Publication status||Published - 2006|