© 2013

Class and the Canon

Constructing Labouring-Class Poetry and Poetics, 1750–1900

  • Kirstie Blair
  • Mina Gorji

About this book


Examining how labouring-class poets constructed themselves and were constructed by critics as part of a canon, and how they situated their work in relation to contemporaries and poets from earlier periods, this book highlights the complexities of labouring-class poetic identities in the period from Burns to mid-late century Victorian dialect poets.


poet poetics poetry William Wordsworth Wordsworth

Editors and affiliations

  • Kirstie Blair
    • 1
  • Mina Gorji
    • 2
  1. 1.University of GlasgowUK
  2. 2.University of CambridgeUK

About the editors

KERRI ANDREWS Lecturer, University of Strathclyde, UK MATTHEW CAMPBELL Professor of English, University of York, UK SUE EDNEY Lecturer in English, Bath Spa University, UK JOHN GOODRIDGE Professor of English, Nottingham Trent University, UK BRIAN HOLLINGWORTH former Head of Literature Studies, Derby University, UK NIGEL LEASK Regius Chair of English Language and Literature, University of Glasgow, UK JENNIFER ORR University of Oxford, UK MICHAEL SANDERS Senior Lecturer in 19th Century Writing, University of Manchester, UK MARCUS WAITHE University Lecturer and Fellow of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, UK

Bibliographic information


"This paradigm shifting collection of essays is to be recommended to anyone interested in the interface between literature and history. The editors are to be congratulated on bringing together such an impressive cast of contributors. There are ground-breaking readings of familiar figures such as Ann Yearsley and John Clare and fascinating analyses of less familar ones such as Samuel Thomson. But what really sets this volume apart is the profound attention given to the complex relations between class and canon. The editors have put these topics back where they belong, right at the heart of critical debate." Gary Day, Principal Lecturer in English, De Montfort University, UK

"By complicating the notion of class, Blair and Gorji's outstanding collection advances the study of labouring-class poets in exciting new directions. Contributors expand our appreciation of the importance of poets such as Burns, Clare, and Barnes and introduce us to figures, such as Samuel Thomson and Samuel Ferguson, whose work deserves deeper consideration. The essays offer innovative contexts for re-envisioning the work of a wide range of writers and challenge the marginalization of laboring-class poetry in literary history." Professor Bridget Keegan, Department of English, Creighton University, USA

"...Class and the Canon offers much analysis beyond the biographical approaches which have so far tended to dominate this critical field." Adam White, The BARS Review