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Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland


  • Page extent: 332 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.67 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521880121)

Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland
Cambridge University Press
9780521880121 - Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland - Edited by Philip Connell and Nigel Leask

Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland

From the ballad seller to the Highland bard, from ‘pot-house politics’ to the language of low and rustic life, the writers and artists of the British Romantic period drew eclectic inspiration from the realm of plebeian experience, even as they helped to constitute the field of popular culture as a new object of polite consumption.

Representing the work of leading scholars from both Britain and North America, Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland offers a series of fascinating insights into changing representations of ‘the people’, while demonstrating at the same time a unifying commitment to rethinking some of the fundamental categories that have shaped our view of the Romantic period. Addressing a series of key themes, including the ballad revival, popular politics, urbanization, and literary canon-formation, the volume also contains a substantial introductory essay, which provides a wide-ranging theoretical and historical overview of the subject.

Philip Connell is a university lecturer at the University of Cambridge, and a Fellow of Selwyn College, His first book, Romanticism, Economics and the Question of ‘Culture’, was published in 2001. He has also published a number of essays on the literature and culture of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and has held an Early Career Fellowship at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (CRASSH) in Cambridge.

Nigel Leask is Regius Professor of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow. He has published widely in the area of Romantic literature and culture, including Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing, 1770–1840: ‘From an Antique Land’ (2002) and Land, Nation and Culture, 1740–1840: Thinking the Republic of Taste (co-edited with David Simpson and Peter de Bolla, 2005).

Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland

Edited by

Philip Connell and Nigel Leask

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo, Delhi

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Cambridge University Press 2009

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2009

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication data

Connell, Philip.
Romanticism and popular culture in Britain and Ireland / Philip Connell and Nigel Leask
 p. cm.
 Includes bibliographical references and index.
 ISBN 978-0-521-88012-1
 1. English literature – 18th century – History and criticism. 2. English literature – 19th century –
 History and criticism. 3. Popular culture in literature. 4. Popular culture and literature –
 Great Britain – History – 18th century. 5. Popular culture and literature – Great
 Britain – History – 19th century. 6. Popular culture and literature – Ireland – History – 18th
 century. 7. Popular culture and literature – Ireland – History – 19th century.
 8. Romanticism – Great Britain. 9. Romanticism – Ireland. I. Leask, Nigel, 1958–
 II. Title
 PR447.C596 2009
 820.9′145–dc22 2008052568

ISBN 978-0-521-88012-1 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

For Marilyn Butler


List of illustrations
Notes on contributors
Part I    Introduction
1         What is the people?
Philip Connell and Nigel Leask
Part II   Ballad poetry and popular song
2         ‘A degrading species of Alchymy’: ballad poetics, oral tradition, and the meanings of popular culture
Nigel Leask
3         Refiguring the popular in Charlotte Brooke’s Reliques of Irish Poetry
Leith Davis
4         ‘An individual flowering on a common stem’: melody, performance, and national song
Kirsteen McCue
Part III  Politics and the people
5         Rus in urbe
John Barrell
6         The ‘sinking down’ of Jacobinism and the rise of the counter-revolutionary man of letters
Kevin Gilmartin
7         Shelley’s Mask of Anarchy and the visual iconography of female distress
Ian Haywood
Part IV   The urban experience
8         Popularizing the public: Robert Chambers and the rewriting of the antiquarian city
Ina Ferris
9         Keats, popular culture, and the sociability of theatre
Gillian Russell
10        A world within walls: Haydon, The Mock Election, and 1820s debtors’ prisons
Gregory Dart
Part V    Canon-formation and the common reader
11        Every-day poetry: William Hone, popular antiquarianism, and the literary anthology
Mina Gorji
12        How to popularize Wordsworth
Philip Connell


1.1       [Hannah More], ‘The Riot; or, Half a Loaf is Better than no Bread’ (London, [1795]), Madden Ballad Collection, 15–69. Reproduced by permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
1.2       A ‘blind chaunter’ of old ballads, from John Thomas Smith, Vagabondiana (London, 1817). Reproduced by permission of the Syndics of Cambridge University Library.
7.1       George Cruikshank, Massacre at St Peter’s, or Britons Strike Home!!! (London, 1819). Copyright Trustees of the British Museum.
7.2       James Gillray, The Butchers of Freedom (London: H. Humphrey, 1788). Copyright Trustees of the British Museum.
7.3       Anon., Firing the Great Gun, Or the Green Bag Open’d (London, 1820). Copyright Trustees of the British Museum.
10.1      B. R. Haydon, The Mock Election (1828). Courtesy of the Royal Collection, Buckingham Palace.
10.2      Robert Cruikshank, ‘Surrey Collegians giving a Lift to a Limb of the Law (Banco Regis, or King’s Bench)’, The English Spy (London, 1825). Private collection.
11.1      Pages from William Hone’s Every-Day Book (London, 1826–7), introducing the entry for April.
12.1      The Little Maid and the Gentleman; or, We are Seven (York, n.d. [c. 1820]). Copyright British Library Board.
12.2      Birket Foster’s illustration for ‘We are Seven’ in Wordsworth’s Poetical Works (London, 1858).
12.3      Max Beerbohm, ‘William Wordsworth in the Lake District, at Cross-Purposes’, The Poet’s Corner (London, 1904).
12.4      We are Seven [n.d.], British Museum Department of Prints and Drawings. Copyright Trustees of the British Museum.

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