The place of poetry in victorian Dundee

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

This thesis was completed on the AHRC-funded collaborative doctoral studentship, 'Poetry, song and community in the industrial city: Victorian Dundee,' a partnership between the University of Strathclyde and Dundee Central Library. Using the library's extensive archival collections of broadsides, published books, newspapers, and manuscripts, I consider the role poetry and song played in the city's public culture during the nineteenth century.I argue that poetry and song, forms which nineteenth-century writers and performers did not see a clear distinction between, were an essential part of conversations about life in a rapidly changing city for the citizens of Victorian Dundee. This is evident not only through the content of the poems and songs themselves, but also through the changing context of their print and performance. I also argue that the verse culture of Victorian Dundee has had a lasting effect on both literary and folk-song culture in Scotland.Certain places within the city became a particular focus for these verse conversations. These tend to be places whose meaning and function were central to Dundee's idea of itself as an industrial city. I have selected five places, or types of places, which were the inspiration for and place of composition for poetry, to discuss in detail. These are the River Tay, the city streets, textile workplaces, parks and green spaces, and central meeting rooms. Examining poems and songs about these places, and their distribution and reception, demonstrates the importance of verse culture as a part of daily life in Victorian Dundee.
Date of Award1 Oct 2018
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SponsorsUniversity of Strathclyde
SupervisorKirstie Blair (Supervisor) & David Goldie (Supervisor)

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