Poetry and Fin de Siècle Socialism

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Poetry was a major cultural form of the so-called “socialist revival” in late nineteenth-century Britain. Poems were sung at meetings and Labour Church services, published in socialist newspapers and periodicals, and gathered together in collections and anthologies. Socialist activists took to verse to make social, political and ideological interventions, and looked back through the literature of the nineteenth century to construct a democratic canon of verse which seemed to have the “Socialist passion for man” at heart (reference). In a mixed socialist movement, fiercely engaged in internal debate over what its aims and strategies should be, discussions about the nature and purpose of socialist poetry fed into wider discussions about the nature and purpose of fin de siècle socialism itself. There has been a burgeoning of scholarly interest in this field in the first few decades of the twenty-first century, and this article explores this small but growing body of work, suggesting directions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLiterature Compass
Publication statusAccepted/In press - May 2016


  • Socialism
  • Poetry
  • Nineteenth-Century
  • Print culture
  • Political poetry
  • Radicalism


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