Laboring-Class Poets Online

Archive for April 2015

John Goodridge (General Editor and Principal Writer), john.goodridge@ntu.ac.uk

Gathering information for the Database is an immense and seemingly eternal task. The Database began with an informal checklist I made thirty years ago, during my doctoral research on Stephen Duck and Mary Collier, by the end of which I guess I had got a handlist of about 300 identifiably labouring-class poets. It all took a huge leap forward when the ‘Elsie’ group was formed, shortly before the millennium, to compile the six-volume Pickering and Chatto anthologies of the poetry, and we began pooling all the stuff we each had on our computers. In July 2001 the ‘superlist’ (as we had come to call it) had 659 named poets on it. By April 2008, with all the volumes in print and further projects in train, we had recovered 600 more and the tally stood at 1,262.

Now, seven years further on, in April 2015, with a new web presence, and benefitting from the knowledge, skills and efforts of many new contributors and developers, we have 1,854 poets: almost 600 more names again. Additionally, we have done a lot of correcting and development work. There are now a number of ‘extended entries’. There are cross references to sources such as manuscript indexes and biographical reference books (and yes, even Wikipedia, where figures too obscure to meet the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’s exacting standards are sometimes lovingly recovered). The general information and the group and ‘anonymous’ lists are beginning to take better shape.

But processing all this takes a lot of work, and it is simply not always possible for the full Database to draw in and assimilate all this new information and revision promptly. So we have devised a ‘static update’ system whereby the latest version of the database can be posted simply and swiftly as three Word files (included below). This posting introduces the first such update, and whilst it is bound to be provisional and to lack the sophisticated statistical and search facilities of the Database proper, it means that people can get the benefit of the most recent additions and corrections in a very direct and immediate way. More will surely follow!

1intro+gen info | 2conventions+abbrevs | 3poets a-z

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Information about and updates from the "Laboring-Class Poets Online" project, an in-progress digitization of a database of British and Irish laboring-class poets who wrote between 1700-1900.

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