Ballads and songs of Peterloo

By Alison Morgan

Ballads and songs of Peterloo


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Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-7849-9312-2
  • Pages: 248
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: June 2018
  • BIC Category: LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Humanities / Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, History, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: poetry & poets, Literature & literary studies / Literature: history & criticism, Modern History, Literature, HISTORY / Europe / Great Britain


Ballads and songs of Peterloo is an edited collection of poems and songs written following the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. This collection, which includes over seventy poems, were published either as broadsides or in radical periodicals and newspapers. Notes to support the reading of the texts are provided, but they also stand alone, conveying the original publications without diluting their authenticity.

Following an introduction outlining the massacre, the radical press and broadside ballad, the poems are grouped into six sections according to theme. Shelley's Masque of Anarchy is included as an appendix in acknowledgement of its continuing significance to the representation of Peterloo.

This book is primarily aimed at students and lecturers of Romanticism and social history.


'Morgan's background in English literature shows through in her insightful analysis of the texts, but the avid historian will not be disappointed. These songs, written at the time and sometimes as eyewitness accounts, often contain references to contemporary cultural touchstones and political figures, many of which may be unknown to present-day readers. But through the incredibly detailed and comprehensive footnotes, the ballads help to provide a deeper understanding of the political and emotional landscape than could be gained from a history book alone. This is a work of which Roy Palmer would have been proud.'
Folk Music Journal

'Ballads and Songs of Peterloo is a comprehensive and timely addition to our knowledge of Peterloo's enduring cultural legacy. It is also a very useful reference tool for accessing key bibliographic and contextual information on the many short-lived radical newspapers of the period - a service indeed for radical historians, and it is certainly a book that I will refer to again and again. But what I like best about this very readable book is that it keeps these songs alive and makes them accessible to a new generation.'
Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire


List of illustrations
1 'Rise Britons, rise now from your slumber': the revolutionary call to arms
2 'Ye English warriors': radical nationalism and the true patriot
3 'Base brat of reform': the victimisation of mother and child
4 'Your memorials shall survive the grave': elegy and remembrance
5 'Those true sons of Mars': chivalry, cowardice and the power of satire
6 'Freeman stand, or freeman die': liberty and slavery
Select bibliography
Index of poems


Alison Morgan is a senior teaching fellow in the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Warwick

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