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The People's William and the People's Poets: William Gladstone and the Midlothian Campaign



Blair K (2018) The People's William and the People's Poets: William Gladstone and the Midlothian Campaign. The People's Voice [Online Essay] 15.02.2018.

William Ewart Gladstone was one of the most featured individuals in Scottish political poetry and song from the 1860s to the 1890s. Gladstone is prominent, on the side of Reform, in poems both from 1867 and from 1884. But our project’s focus on Reform poetry means that a very significant cluster of Gladstone poems are absent from the database: poems that centre around the Midlothian Campaign of 1879, and the subsequent election of 1880, in which Gladstone and the Liberal party triumphantly returned to power. These poems have never been discussed. What will be argued here, however, is that they shed light on key issues in the electoral campaign from the perspective of the audiences Gladstone primarily addressed, but whose voices are not always recognized in the historiography of the Midlothian Campaign – working men and women. They show us, moreover, the contribution that political poetry made in exalting Gladstone’s character and policies, and in conferring renewed heroic status on him; a status enormously important in the political affairs of the 1880s.

Type of mediaOnline Essay
FundersUniversity of Strathclyde
Publication date online15/02/2018
PublisherCarnegie Trust and the University of Glasgow
Publisher URL…018/02/Blair.pdf

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Professor Kirstie Blair
Professor Kirstie Blair

Dean of Faculty of Arts and Humanities, AH Management and Support Team