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A History of British Working Class Literature
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Book description

A History of British Working-Class Literature examines the rich contributions of working-class writers in Great Britain from 1700 to the present. Since the early eighteenth century the phenomenon of working-class writing has been recognised, but almost invariably co-opted in some ultimately distorting manner, whether as examples of 'natural genius'; a Victorian self-improvement ethic; or as an aspect of the heroic workers of nineteenth- and twentieth-century radical culture. The present work contrastingly applies a wide variety of interpretive approaches to this literature. Essays on more familiar topics, such as the 'agrarian idyll' of John Clare, are mixed with entirely new areas in the field like working-class women's 'life-narratives'. This authoritative and comprehensive History explores a wide range of genres such as travel writing, the verse-epistle, the elegy and novels, while covering aspects of Welsh, Scottish, Ulster/Irish culture and transatlantic perspectives.

Reviews

'A History of British Working Class Literature consists of 25 essays by more than 30 contributors hailing from the US, the UK, and Germany. This reviewer cannot imagine a more comprehensive commentary on this much-neglected topic. … This reviewer recommends every essay in this splendid collection, because singling out some is to implicitly and unfairly devalue others. … This collection is a must read for those interested in politics and literature. … Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.'

L. A. Brewer Source: Choice

‘Goodridge and Keegan’s book is a timely contribution to the literary, social, and political study of working-class writing, emphasising the continuing significance of class in British society and literature.’

Steve Padley Source: Key Words: A Journal of Cultural Materialism

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