Shelley and Peterloo : radical, nationalist and balladeer

Morgan, AJ 2012, Shelley and Peterloo : radical, nationalist and balladeer , PhD thesis, University of Salford.

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Abstract

In May 1820 Shelley wrote to Leigh Hunt concerning the publication of "a little volume of popular songs, wholly political". This request met with failure and the "little volume" was never published. It is the contention of this thesis that eleven of Shelley's poems written between September 1819 and July 1820 would have formed part, if not the entirety, of this intended volume. Inspired directly by Peterloo, these poems are unique within Shelley's oeuvre through their evocation of a populist radical discourse. Although much has been written in the past thirty years on his radicalism, through an examination of the "popular songs", some of which have been critically ignored, this thesis extends critical understanding of Shelley by presenting him as a nationalist and a balladeer. Shelley's awareness of how genre locates texts within a particular discourse together with his innovative use of genre in these poems informs the methodology and structure of this thesis. The first chapter considers Shelley's elegies on Ireland written between 1810 and 1813. They display his increasing awareness of how poetry and a radical nationalist sentiment can be enhanced through the use of a specific genre and are therefore instrumental to the approach adopted by Shelley in the poems of 1819. The second chapter traces the emergent interest in antiquarianism in the eighteenth century and the appropriation of the ballad and the indigenous English culture from which it came by both radicals and conservatives. The subsequent chapters focus on the "popular songs" demonstrating how, through a myriad of textual dialogues, these ballads, songs, sonnets and odes unashamedly appropriate style and language from other media, including graphic satire, whilst simultaneously pushing generic and ideological boundaries. By placing these poems within a wider radical discourse, this thesis aims to broaden awareness of Shelley's poetical achievements, resulting in a readjustment of critical focus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Ruston, S (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 27 Jul 2021 13:49
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:55
URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/61312

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