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Title: The writing life of Robert Story, 1795-1860 : 'the Conservative bard'
Author: Crown, P.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7428 7534
Awarding Body: Liverpool John Moores University
Current Institution: Liverpool John Moores University
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis explores the writing life of the Northumbrian labouring-class poet Robert Story (1795-1860) who, during the political turmoil of the 1830s, achieved national celebrity for writing a series of songs and poems for Peel’s Conservative party. In his unpublished autobiography (c.1853) he alludes to building an archive of his work. Drawing on these manuscripts, all of which have until now remained hidden, and his published writing, this thesis investigates the relationship between Story’s apparent political conservatism and his progressive and experimental approach to writing. The study is organised into three main parts. The first forms a study of Story’s biographical manuscripts, using his accounts of reading to raise the wider complex theoretical questions that inform the thesis. It goes beyond Story’s connection with the pastoral tradition and hypothesises that Story’s writing was always rhetorical. Tracing Story’s circle of ‘brother’ poets, part two locates him in a distinctly labouring-class canon, imagined or otherwise, that he believed was at least equal to the polite realm of literature. This phase of research also resituates Story’s satirical modes of writing and his party ballads within the great body of political literature produced by working men during the first half of the nineteenth century. Story’s importance lies not only in his pursuit of politics but also in his cultural ambition: the third part of the thesis examines formal hybridity in his writing. It reveals how Story was searching for new forms of self-expression and asks to what extent his pursuit of literature was politicised and predicated on the belief that social and economic emancipation was contingent on cultural equality. Overall this thesis argues that Story was using literature to challenge the political, social and cultural boundaries imposed on him as both a workingman and a labouring-class writer.
Supervisor: Rogers, H. ; Norquay, G. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: PN Literature (General) ; PN0441 Literary History