Treasures and Tea: How Poetry Changed the World: Elizabeth Barrett's "The Cry of the Children" and Industrial Reform

Dr. Alison Chapman (Professor, Department of English) and Denae Dyck (PhD candidate, Department of English)


In the 1840s, Victorian Britain witnessed heated discussion about industrialisation and urban poverty, especially about child labour in factories. R. H. Horne's report for the Royal Commission (1842) astounded the Victorians with accounts of children working up to 16 hours each day. ​Special Collections holds important material related to this topic, including the poem that was most influential in effecting legislative reform: Elizabeth Barrett's "The Cry of the Children". This talk will cover the two earliest publications of this poem, in  Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine and in Barrett's 1844 Poems (a new Special Collections purchase), discussing such issues as its political impact, periodical context, transatlantic circulation, and innovative poetics.


Date: September 27, 2018

Time: 1-2 p.m.

Location: Special Collections and University Archives, Mearns Centre for Learning - McPherson Library, Room A003


Treasures and Tea brings together the campus and the community to explore and share highlights from Special Collections and University Archives. Refreshments follow the informal talks.