United Islands? The Languages of Resistance

Edited by John Kirk, Andrew Noble and Michael Brown
Pickering and Chatto, 2012, xv + 272 pp.

Clúdach an leabhair

In the aftermath of the American and French Revolutions, the 1790s brought a huge outpouring of poetry and song in support of radicalism in Great Britain and Ireland. The essays in this volume deal with radical poetry in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as well as in the regions of England and London, placing the 1790s in a broader historical and cultural context.

Much of the material drawn on is non-canonical, unstudied, and in one of the Celtic languages or in Scots or dialect English. The contributors are able to show that reactionary political verse is a pan-British phenomenon, and that the writing of this period has fundamental implications for the history of Britain. They show how poetry and song can reveal the relations between the four nations at this time, particularly that between England with the other three.

This book can be purchased directly from the publishers.


'Introduction', Andrew Noble
1. 'Reading the English political songs of the 1790s', Michael Scrivener
2. 'Why should the landlords have the best songs? Thomas Spence and the subversion of popular song', Joan Beal
3. '"Bard of liberty": Iolo Morganwg, Wales and radical song', Mary-Ann Constantine and Elizabeth Edwards
4. 'Canonicity and radical evangelicalism: the case of Thomas Kelly', Mark S Sweetnam
5. 'Charlotte Brooke's Reliques of Irish Poetry: eighteenth-century "Irish song" and the politics of remediation', Leith Davis
6. 'Homology, analogy and the perception of Irish radicalism', Vincent Morley
7. 'Lost manuscripts and reactionary rustling: was there a radical Scottish Gaelic poetry between 1770 and 1820?', Peter Mackay
8. 'Virile vernaculars: radical sexuality as social subversion in Irish chapbook verse, 1780–1820', Andrew Carpenter
9. 'Thomas Moore and the problem of colonial masculinity in Irish romanticism', Julia M Wright
10. 'Radical politics and dialect in the British archipelago', R Stephen Dornan
11. '"Theaw kon ekspect no mooar eawt ov a pig thin a grunt": searching for the radical dialect voice in industrial Lancashire and the West Riding, 1798–1819', Katrina Navickas
'Afterword', Katie Trumpener
Works cited