Joseph Rayner Stephens

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Stephens, Joseph Rayner


Born Mar. 8, 1805, in Edinburgh; died Feb. 18, 1879, in Stalybridge, Cheshire. British Methodist preacher.

Stephens became widely known for speaking in support of workers and for his attacks against the “new poor law” of 1834. For a time, he was an adherent of Chartism. In December 1838 he was arrested for agitating in support of the People’s Charter and for urging armed revolt. He was freed in 1840. In the early 1850’s he abandoned political activity.


Cole, G. D. H. Chartist Portraits. London, 1941.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
E.H.'s "On Joseph Rayner Stephens" ends with the promise of better poems, and an optimistic hope that Stephens's words will emancipate the working classes and provide them with the ability to improve their writing: "So I bid you good bye, till my verses I've mended" (68).
In contrast to "On Joseph Rayner Stephens," "Spring Reflections" draws upon the power of the female poet, rather than gestures to a male "saviour." Here, Saunderson sees the working class as the makers of their own destiny, reliant upon none, and responsible for their own liberty.