Chartist Literature

Chartist Literature


literature written during the Chartist movement that reflected the struggle of the British proletariat in the revolutionary-democratic stage of the working-class movement.

Chartist literature was rooted in the mass democratic literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries and in working-class folklore; it also reflected the influence of Lord Byron and P. B. Shelley. The leading revolutionary-democratic trend in Chartist literature countered the reformism favored by the poets E. Elliot, T. Hood, and T. Cooper. Such poets as E. Jones, W. J. Linton, and G. Massey came to the fore, and poems written by workers were published, often anonymously, in Chartist newspapers and journals.

Building on the achievements of British critical realism, such prose writers as T. M. Wheeler and Jones sought to depict popular revolutionary movements. An important place in Chartist literature is occupied by journalism, by satirical sketches (D. J. Jer-rold), and by literary criticism (G. J. Harney, Jones, and Massey), which attempted to create a proletarian aesthetics.

K. Marx and F. Engels valued Chartist literature highly; its traditions were adopted by writers of the socialist movement, notably W. Morris, and may be seen today in progressive British literature.


Antologiia chartistskoi literatury. Moscow, 1956.

Jones, E. Stat’i o chartistskoi programme: Pis’ma. Moscow, 1970.


Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 2, p. 463.
Istoriia angliiskoi literatury, vol. 2, fasc. 2. Moscow, 1955.
Shiller, F. P. Ocherki po istorii chartistskoi poezii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1933.
Nikoliukin, A. N. Massovaia poeziia v Anglii kontsa XVIII–nach. XIX vv. Moscow, 1961.
References in periodicals archive ?
An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956), or Brian Maidment, ed.
Yuri Kovalev, An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956).
12] Such statements are s ymptomatic of the sociologically reductive way in which Chartist literature and Jones's poetry in particular have been treated.
Quoted in Yuri Kovalev, An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow, 1956), pp.