Current research projects:
I am currently working on the role of religion within the Chartist movement. This project emerged out of work I undertook on the National Chartist Hymn Book which was published as an article, '"God is our guide! our cause is just!": The National Chartist Hymn Book and Victorian Hymnody', in Victorian Studies, 54:4 (Summer 2012). Part of this project, a chapter on the Chartist poet Thomas Cooper, is due to be published in a collection of essays on Working-Class Literature by Cambridge University Press.
I have recently published essays on the relationship of Chartism and drama, and on Chartist educational ideas. See, ‘The Platform and the Stage: the Primary Aesthetics of Chartism’ published in P. Yeandle, K. Newey, J. Richards eds., Politics, Performance and Popular Culture (MUP 2016), and ’From “Technical” to “Cultural” Literacy, Reading and Writing in the British Chartist Movement’ published in Ann-Catrine Edlund, T.G. Ashplant, Anna Kuismin eds., Reading and Writing from Below: Exploring the Margins of Modernity (Umea UP, 2016) for further details.
In 2009 I published a monograph on Chartist poetry, entitled The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History with Cambridge University Press. This study argues that ‘Chartist poetry’ currently exists as a complex of aesthetic, historical and sociological problems rather than a properly defined category of literary history. My interest is in Chartist poetry as a praxis which is simultaneously aesthetic and political and, therefore, in the individual Chartist poem as an aesthetic text, a political text and an historical text.
My main research interests are the relationship between culture and politics in nineteenth-century working-class radicalism with a particular emphasis on the Chartist movement.