Victorian Poetry

Journal publishing scholary articles on topics related to Victorian poetry and poets.

Articles from Vol. 39, No. 2, Summer

Class and Poetic Communities: The Works of Ellen Johnston, "The Factory Girl"
What we call literature, and what we teach, is what the middle class--and not the working class -- produced. --Martha Vicinus, The Industrial Muse [1] Critics here [in our collection] are not actively looking beyond class boundaries to working-class...
"EawrFolk": Language, Class, and English Identity in Victorian Dialect Poetry
THE INTRODUCTION TO THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF SAMUEL LAYCOCK, one of the most popular Victorian working-class dialect poets, comments that Laycock wrote "for the elevation, the enjoyment, and the consolation of. . . the 'toilers and moilers' of Lancashire's...
Ebenezer Elliott and the Reconstruction of Working-Class Masculinity
"Who is the poet of the poor, if I am not?" --Ebenezer Elliott, 1840 [1] EBENEZER ELLIOTT (1781-1849) WAS BORN THE SON OF A SHEFFIELD iron worker and at an early age began writing poetry while employed in his father's foundry. Though early in his...
"Every Man Who Is Hanged Leaves a Poem": Criminal Poets in Victorian Street Ballads
The ambiguous existence of these sheets undoubtedly masks the processes of a subterranean battle...around two rights, perhaps less heterogeneous than they seem at first sight--the right to kill and be killed and the right to speak and narrate. --Michel...
"In Louring Hindostan":Chartism and Empire in Ernest Jones's the New World, A Democratic Poem
THE FICTION AND POETRY WRITTEN BY THE CHARTISTS CONTINUE TO EXERT a powerful ideological pull on both historians and literary critics concerned with the Victorian period, not only because the reform movement was itself politically unique--"the first...
Of "Haymakers" and "City Artisans": The Chartist Poetics of Eliza Cook's Songs of Labor
IN 1854, IN THE PAGES OF HER PENNY WEEKLY ELIZA COOK'S JOURNAL, POET Eliza Cook (1818-1889) proclaimed her optimism about the future of the working classes: The levelling of this day is all of the levelling-up character.... The number of self-risen...
Poetic Agency: Metonymy and Metaphor in Chartist Poetry 1838-1852 [1]
REFLECTING ON THE FIRST NATIONAL CONVENTION, THE ORIGINAL historian of Chartism, R. C. Gammage, commented wryly, "It did not turn out to be a perfectly harmonious body." [2] According to Gammage, the major source of discord was the disagreement between...
Sedition, Chartism, and Epic Poetry in Thomas Cooper's the Purgatory of Suicides
WHEN THE PURGATORY OF SUICIDES: A PRISON-RHYME IN TEN BOOKS appeared in 1845, its title page announced that its author was "Thomas Cooper, The Chartist." [1] Written from prison, The Purgatory of Suicides begins by translating into verse a speech for...
She's Coming, Ye Bards
She's soming, ye bards, see the banners are waving High on the towers of the famed Penny Post; And her fair sister, Edith, bright welcomes is saving To greet the song-queen you have made Scotland's boast. She's coming, despite dark November's...
Slaves in Heaven, Laborers in Hell: Chartist Poets' Ambivalent Identification with the (Black) Slave
CHARTIST LEADER ERNEST JONES'S "THE POET'S MISSION" (1855) OPENS with a question: [1] Who is it rivets broken bands And stranger-hearts together, And builds with fast-decaying hands A home to last for ever? (II. 1-4) As the poem's title...
The "Homely Muse" in Her Diurnal Setting: The Periodical Poems of "Marie," Janet Hamilton, and Fanny Forrester
CRITICAL ATTENTION TO WORKING-CLASS POETRY AS A GENRE HAS SUFFered for many years from a tendency to ignore these works' original publication-history. [1] It is easy to comment once again on the stereotypical qualities of a few readily accessible volumes...
The Poetics of the Working Classes
NEW ANTIPHONS REMIND US FROM TIME TO TIME THAT POETRY BEGAN and flourished in songs, ballads, hymns, dirges, outcries of protest, and prayers of thanks. It is my hope that this issue will deepen our understanding of poetry's demotic and artisanal origins,...