About Chartist fiction
To this end, but for other reasons as well, Chartists wrote a great deal of politically-charged poetry and fiction. Until recently, Chartist poetry had received most of the critical and scholarly attention, in large part because Chartists produced more poetry than fiction. But the amount of fiction in Chartist periodicals is nonetheless significant, demonstrating an attempt to create “a literature of your own,” as the prolific Chartist Thomas Cooper would say. Most Chartist fiction was written anonymously. Many of the stories that appear in the pages of Chartist papers were also taken from non-Chartist sources, sometimes with and sometimes without attribution. (It should be remembered that borrowing material from other sources was a common Victorian practice.) Other than Cooper, the most prolific and renowned writer of Chartist fiction was Ernest Jones. But our database demonstrates that a great number of different authors with different ambitions took to writing fiction in order to further the causes of Chartism. As one might expect, Chartist fiction tells its own story.
We have included all the fiction we have found in Chartist periodicals, or periodicals that at least expressed support for Chartism over an extended period of time and are identified as Chartist in The Warwick Guide to British Labour Periodicals. However, the list is not complete and we will add new periodicals in the future. When possible, we have included the known author for work presented without attribution (in parenthesis) and where the original story was published, if the story appeared earlier elsewhere. We have divided the stories into a number of genres and have identified the time in which the action takes place, as well as the country in which they are set. Finally, we have included a guide to where the periodicals housing the stories can be found, online or in a library.