Our first Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies event of the new academic year takes place at 7.30 on Monday 18th November 2019, in room 106 of the School of Arts building, 43 Gordon Square. Professor Kirstie Blair (Strathclyde) will give a paper titled: ”Excelsior! Inspirational Verse and the Victorian Industrial Worker’.
This paper uses research from the ‘Piston, Pen & Press’ project to discuss the enormous popularity of inspirational, motivating verse, a genre usually critically disregarded. It examines the role such poetry played in the cultures of working-class self-improvement and mutual improvement, for both working-class writers and readers.
Prof Kirstie Blair is the author of numerous articles/chapters and three books on Victorian poetry and its wider impacts on Victorian culture: her latest study, Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press and Community, has just been published by OUP. She is the PI on a 2-year AHRC project, ‘Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace’, on which she works closely with a number of industrial heritage museums and creative partners. She is currently running a series of MOOCs on ‘Working Lives’, exploring the history of Victorian workers on the railways, in coal-mining, and in textile factories and mills.
This event is open to anyone who wishes to attend.