The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History

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Between 1838 and 1852, the leading Chartist newspaper, the Northern Star, published over 1000 poems written by more than 350 poets - as the readership of the Northern Star numbered hundreds of thousands, these poems were amongst the most widely read of the Victorian era. This book offers a complete record of all the poems published. It asks a simple question: why did the writing and reading of poetry play such an important role in Chartism's struggle to secure fundamental democratic rights? It answers this question by analysing the interplay between politics, aesthetics and history in the aftermath of the Newport insurrection (1839), during the mass strikes of 1842 and the year of European revolutions (1848). Additionally, the book theorizes poetry's political agency and examines the critical history of Chartist poetry.