Date of Award
Master of Arts
This thesis adds to the critical discourse on working-class poetry, which historically has focused on the political and social significance of the text. Using nineteenth century science as a framework for expanding this working class discourse, I examine the poetry of the three working-class poets: William Vincent Moorhouse, Samuel Bamford, and Gerald Massey. These three poets had documented access and interactions with various scientists and professionals such as botanists, surgeons, and physicists, and these scientific associations prominently influenced their verse. Studying how science is represented in the art and poetic expression of the working classes reveals the way scientific information was being processed, understood, and appropriated not only within an individual but within an individual's community. It gives insight into how a particular individual viewed himself as an agent and a receiver of this information and how this revolutionary scientific thought influenced his relationship with the natural world and the universe. Ultimately, this scientific lens releases the working-class poet from the political and diurnal archetypes often associated with working-class verse, and it moves them to the larger national stage of literary influence, connecting them to the broader scientific community of the nineteenth century.
Angela Jean Walther
Walther, Angela Jean, "From Fields of Labor to Fields of Science: The Working Class Poet in the Nineteenth Century" (2012). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 12503.