Mike Sanders, senior lecturer in Victorian studies at Manchester University, has interests in early Victorian culture and literature, particularly Chartist poetry and working-class literature. In 2009, Sanders published The Poetry of Chartism: Aesthetics, Politics, History, demonstrating a deep understanding of the unique role that poetry played in the innovative working-class movement called Chartism.
Sanders’s paper, “God's Insurrection: Politics and Faith in the Revolutionary Sermons of J.R. Stephens,” explores the ways in which the Methodist minister Joseph Rayner Stephens, in The Political Pulpit, understands political action as the necessary corollary of Christian faith, with regard to his use of biblical analogies, his construction of a just social order, the doctrine of “justification,” and “God's insurrection,” or spontaneous, religiously inspired social transformation.
J. W. Whittaker. Dr. Whittaker’s Sermon to the Chartists: A Sermon Preached at the Parish Church, Blackburn, on Sunday, August 4th, 1839. Blackburn: J. Walkden, 1839.
Reacting against the Chartists’ invitation to preach on James 5:1-6, Whittaker uses the opportunity to undermine the religious underpinning Chartists claimed for themselves, articulating religious, political, and personal arguments against them, providing a point of contrast to the Chartists’ depictions of their own beliefs, and illustrating the pressures the Chartists had to fight against.
Letter from Gerald Massey to Robert Browning. [12 March 1873].
You once heard me lecture in a quiet, private way at Ashridge. I am invited to lecture in America this next Season. You are great there. Do you think you could give me a word of Commendation which might be used in a private Circular, together with others—it shall be placed in good Company --
Letter from Robert Browning to Gerald Massey. [Undated].
This undated fragment contains a cryptic response from Robert Browning apologizing for not having read one of Massey’s publications.
the Sonnets” [- who the] only-begetter”, who the “dark lady,” and who the “better angel”—that I never have as yet found time even to open your Book—to which I subscribed as a mark of respect to its <…> I should <…> appearance were its <…> of your own.
Letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to John Kenyon. 1 May .
My dearest Mr Kenyon, surely it is quite wrong that we three, Robert you & I, should be satisfied with writing little dry notes, as short as so many proclamations .. & those of the order of your anti-chartist magistracy– “Whereas certain evil disposed persons &c &c”, .. instead of our anti-austrian Grand duchy’s “O figli amati”—(how characteristic of the north & the south, to be sure, is this contrast! Yet after all they might have managed it rather better in England!) .. little dry notes as brief & business-like as an anti Chartist proclamation! And indeed two of us are by no means satisfied, whatever the third may be.
. . . As to the Chartists, it is only a pity, in my mind, that you have not more of them. That’s their fault. Mine you will say, is being pert about politics when you would rather have anything else in a letter from Italy.
Letter from Elizabeth Barrett Browning to James Martin. 10 December 1844.
And, to turn from tory legislators, I am vainglorious in announcing to you that the Anti-cornlaw League has taken up my poems on the top of its pikes, as antithetic to ‘War & Monopoly.’ Have I not had a sonnet from Gutter Lane? And has not the journal, called the ‘League,’ reviewed me into the third Heaven, high up .. above the pure æther of the Five Points?. Yes, indeed. Of course I should be a (Magna) Chartist for evermore, even without the previous predilection.
- Exhibition Text by Melinda Creech