The Chartist Imaginary: Aesthetics, Politics and History in Chartist Poetry 1838-1852

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Arts Languages and Cultures


This research project examines the poetry column of the leading Chartist newspaper, the 'Northern Star'. It discusses the work of over a hundred working-class poets who contributed to the poetry column during the newspaper's lifetime. It asks 'what kind of poetry did Chartist poets write and why?' It seeks to understand the significant of poetry within the Chartist movement by looking at the ways in which Chartist poetry contributed to discussions of Chartist strategy and tactics, poetry's role in interpreting current political events and celebrating Chartist leaders and Chartist activity. It also looks at Chartist poems about love, the family, children, and nature, and asks if these too are 'political poems'? It asks if there is such a thing as a 'Chartist aesthetic', a distinctively Chartist form of poetry and, if so, whether it is similar to or different from more familiar forms of Romantic and Victorian poetry.


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