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Author: Alison Morgan

This book is the first edited collection of poems and songs written in the immediate aftermath of the Peterloo Massacre in 1819. Of the seventy or so poems included in the anthology, many were published as broadsides and almost half were published in radical periodicals, such as the moderate Examiner and the ultra-radical Medusa with many from the Manchester Observer. Although I have provided headnotes and footnotes to support the reading of the texts, I intend them to stand alone, conveying as much of the original publication as possible, in order not to dilute the authenticity.

Following an introduction outlining the events before, during and after the massacre as well as background information on the radical press and broadside ballad, the poems are grouped into six sections according to theme, rather than chronologically or by publication because I want the reader to note the similarity between so many of the poems. Grouped in this manner, one cannot avoid the voices echoing down the centuries, speaking to us of the horrors of the time in texts that can no longer be ignored. 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. With the bicentenary of the massacre in 2019 and Mike Leigh’s forthcoming film, I envisage the potential for a wider readership of people interested in learning more about one of the most seminal events in English history.

Balloons, fairs, ballads and the Great Exhibition
Jo Briggs

taken up and parodied in broadside ballads. Integration and segregation The question of exclusions and exclusiveness at the Great Exhibition is a vexed one, but examining the way that fair and exhibition were defined against one another invites us to look again at how the restless urban poor and even the less well-off sections of the more respectable working classes were carefully and deliberately excluded from the Crystal Palace and its environs in 1851. Although the class make-up and respectability of those in attendance was often remarked upon, this was in fact

in Novelty fair
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Alison Morgan

feature regularly, along with the works of John Locke, Richard Price and Jonathan Swift. Poems by Milton and Goldsmith sit alongside songs by Spence. In many of his songs he adopts the tradition of the broadside ballad of stating a known tune, such as ‘Rule Britannia’ and ‘God Save the King’ thereby encouraging a collective, communal performance.70 This technique was used later in the Black Dwarf and Medusa. Following his death in 1814, his followers, Thomas Evans, Arthur Thistlewood and ‘Dr’ James Watson, known as the Spencean Philanthropists, continued his work. Post

in Ballads and songs of Peterloo
Romance and the cash nexus at the Great Exhibition
Jo Briggs

is also being presented to the viewer as an object of desire, with the fantasy of romance (though free of the psycho-sexual ­dimension that Edwards detects) temporarily taking the place of economic relations. 130 Novelty fair Conclusion: romance and the fair Suggestions of flirtation at the Great Exhibition take up a theme that was a preoccupation of broadside ballads. As discussed previously, these ballads ­reintroduced the idea of the unruly reproductive body into a setting that had been constructed to exclude such associations. However, once more, satire in

in Novelty fair
Alison Morgan

were directly involved, as participants as opposed to onlookers, thereby enhancing the authority of the narrative. For readers familiar with the events, the ballads validate their stories, strengthening their experience through a shared discourse; for those seeking knowledge of events, the ballads serve as news, recalling the day in an accessible and memorable way. Although broadside ballads are often regarded as ephemeral, the longevity of oral culture in England and the revival of the ballad in the eighteenth century would have suggested to balladeers that their

in Ballads and songs of Peterloo
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Time’s question
Jo Briggs

exhibitions were undergoing a revolution.’11 However, as Chapter 4 explores, the relationship of the Great Exhibition to more established forms of popular entertainment was in fact vital: at the same time that the organizers of the Exhibition sought to distance the event from fairs, it comprised undeniably fair-like elements, and broadside ballads published at the time made such commonalities the focus of their satires. Turning to considerations of Victorian print culture, Louis James chose to end his survey, Print and the People, in 1851.12 Celina Fox, in her ground

in Novelty fair
Between respectable and risqué satire in 1848
Jo Briggs

, despite their humorous content, these satires were prompted by serious reportage articles published in periodicals such as The Times, the Standard and the Illustrated London News. Without understanding the factual reference point for any particular joke or cartoon their cultural weight and seriousness can be underestimated. But, just as significantly, these images also drew on less respectable sources: the text of broadside ballads, popular plays and cheap lithographs. The proximity of Punch’s material to these popular, risqué and even obscene forms of humorous popular

in Novelty fair
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Novelty Fair, burlesquing history
Jo Briggs

, recalling Chartism at the same time that it heralds the coming exhibition. Novelty Fair, in its diverse references to ‘high’ and ‘low’ culture, also invites us to pull together strands of nineteenth-century culture that have previously been treated separately, such as fairs and the Great Exhibition, gutta percha and special constables’ truncheons, wallpaper and waxworks, broadside ballads and Punch. As a result the mid nineteenth century starts to look a little different and less familiar. Often the injection of a different set of sources has led to the questioning of the

in Novelty fair
Goodnight ballads in Eastward Ho
Jacqueline Wylde

Mannington’s popular and well-​known ballad ‘I wail in woe, I plunge in pain’ (1576), one of many well-​known goodnight ballads that circulated throughout the country.5 A  variety of broadside ballad, goodnight ballads (also known as ‘neck verses’ or ‘the last goodnight’) were sung from the perspective of the condemned before their executions.6 They purported to be composed by the prisoners themselves, but appear to have been penned by mostly anonymous ballad writers.7 The resulting songs could combine familiar music, catchy rhymes, and the drama of the scaffold to make

in Forms of faith
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Jenny Valentish

pankration – an early form of mixed martial arts, but with the referees wielding big sticks – and the violent scenes were recorded in pigment on pottery. The heroic bastards of medieval jousting tournaments verily made their way onto tapestries and canvases. Between the sixteenth and nineteenth centuries, ‘broadsideballads in Britain, Ireland and North America were printed on cheap paper alongside crude woodcuts, immortalising pugilists, hardnuts and hellraisers. In the 1927 anthology Frontier Ballads, edited by Charles J. Finger, the songs are described as

in Everything harder than everyone else