Article

McGonagall, 'Poute' and the Bad Poets of Victorian Dundee

Details

Citation

Blair K (2013) McGonagall, 'Poute' and the Bad Poets of Victorian Dundee. The Bottle Imp, (14). http://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/ScotLit/ASLS/SWE/TBI/TBIIssue14/Blair.pdf

Abstract
First paragraph: In his essay on ‘The Great McGonagall,' Hugh McDiarmid commented that: McGonagall is in a very special category, and has it all to himself. There are no other writings known to me that resemble his. So far as the whole tribe of poets is concerned, from the veritable lords of language to the worst doggerel-mongers, he stands alone. And indeed, McGonagall does stand alone today. Of all the ‘scores of utterly worthless rhymers' that were operating in Victorian Dundee and elsewhere, he is the only poet we remember. Yet while MacDiarmid may not have known of any writings resembling McGonagall's, a substantial body of such writings did exist, and would unquestionably have been known to McGonagall's Dundee audiences and to the poet himself. For the enormously popular weekend newspapers of mid-late Victorian Dundee, the People's Journal and the Weekly News, home of McGonagall's first publications, both fostered a lively culture of bad poetry. This is a culture that has entirely disappeared from view, but it is well worth recovering, not simply because it presents McGonagall's work in a different light, but because he was arguably neither the worst nor the best bad poet of his times; he was simply the one most prepared to relinquish anonymity and pursue a career in performance as well as in print.

Journal
The Bottle Imp, Issue 14

StatusPublished
Publication date30/11/2013
PublisherAssociation for Scottish Literary Studies
Publisher URLhttp://www.arts.gla.ac.uk/…ssue14/Blair.pdf
ISSN1754-1514

People (1)

People

Professor Kirstie Blair
Professor Kirstie Blair

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