By K. Blair, M. Gorji

This essay assortment makes a speciality of a continual culture of labouring-class poetics, from burns within the eighteenth century to the mid-late century Victorian dialect poets who observed themselves, and have been noticeable as, his direct heirs. It speaks to contemporary scholarly curiosity in and restoration of labouring-class writing from the eighteenth and 19th centuries. through targeting how labouring-class poets developed themselves Read more...

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interpreting how labouring-class poets built themselves and have been built by means of critics as a part of a canon, and the way they located their paintings in terms of contemporaries and poets from earlier Read more...

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Extra resources for Class and the canon : constructing labouring-class poetry and poetics, 1780-1900

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In the event Burns may have made £54 profit from the Kilmarnock volume, and as much as £700 from the Edinburgh volume, the copyright of which he sold to William Creech for one hundred guineas; at any rated, he donated £180 from the profits of the latter to his brother Gilbert, a capital sum equivalent to nearly two years rent, which enabled the latter to struggle on as tenant farmer until 1797 (Mackay, 1992, p. 236). But Smith’s definition of ‘Cash Account’ suggests that Burns was after something more valuable than cash in hand, namely ‘credit’, which in the eighteenth-century carried a complicated range of meanings, going well beyond a favourable balance.

1 He clearly discriminates between bona fide expressions of political discontent and rogue violence. Though it may imply a degree of class snobbery on the part of the poet, it is worth noting that many of Thomson’s closest friends were weavers, particularly Luke Mullan and James Orr, both fellow poets and members of the reading society. This group of artisans was inevitably politicized by economic hardship, but their membership of the Reading Society demonstrated a deliberately different choice of company from those men who joined agrarian paramilitary factions such as the Whiteboys and Hearts of Oak, societies which offered a measure of pride and protection for labourers struggling 42 Class and the Canon against import tariffs and the adverse economic climate brought about by Britain’s wars.

The preface also echoes the opening lines of ‘Summer. ’ Pope, in turn, acknowledged his source to be Theocritus’s first Idyll: ‘A Shepherd’s Boy (no better do him call)’, suggesting that Thomson’s motivation may have been to create a literary paper trail in the use of this one line (Pope, 1965, p. 129; Spenser, 1912, p. 421). The poet paints a picture of a perfect agricultural republic, in which fraternal honesty flourishes. He undoubtedly valued the fact that his profession as a schoolmaster afforded him a degree of independence from labour, and leisure to enjoy his native landscape, over which he gained a sense of ownership: Hail happy place!

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