Chartist Literature

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Loose's text is split into five sections focused on Ernest Jones and the poetics of internationalism, the concept of epic agency in Chartist literature, strategy and formal hybridity in Chartist fiction, women in early to late Chartist literature, and the politics of cognition in Chartist women's poetry.
Poetry through its sheer mass, variety, and, in individual cases, quality may occupy pride of place in the hierarchy of Chartist literature, but it is the ensemble of many forms of a simultaneously oral and literary culture that fulfils the role ascribed by Janowitz.
Kovalev, ed., An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow: Foreign Publishing House, 1956); Peter Scheduler, ed., An Anthology of Chartist Poetry: Poetry of the British Working Class, 1830s-1850s (Cranbury, NJ: Associated U.
(20) In addition to Julia in Wheelers novel, protofeminist characters and strands occur in other Chartist literature as well, including Ernest Jones's Woman's Wrongs, R.
All of the poems cited in this article can be found in either Yuri Kovalev, ed., An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956), or Brian Maidment, ed., The Poorhouse Fugitives: Self-taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain (Manchester; Carcanet, 1992).
(9.) Yuri Kovalev, An Anthology of Chartist Literature (Moscow: Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1956).
While praising it as perhaps "the best thing he ever wrote," Mary Ashraf nevertheless views it primarily in terms of "its interest as a reflection of current political ideas and the development of Ernest Jones himself." [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.