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date: 10 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The chapter considers the production, distribution, and reception of popular printed poetry in eighteenth-century Britain. This is the high-water mark of the broadside ballad (distinct from the oral “ballad of tradition” discussed elsewhere in this volume). Focus is on the form, its procedures, and the ballads’ performance by the singers and patterers who were an important link in their distribution. Connections of the broadside with “folk” tradition are assessed, as well as the public nature of such poetry, particularly in metrical journalism. Popular poetry is assigned a more formative ideological role than previously recognized and its part in creating the pseudo-Messianic “Bonnie Prince Charlie” is examined. The chapter traces the obstacles to a more integrated view of the national Scottish, English, and Irish traditions to the cultural diversity of the British Isles. The chapter argues for a wider theoretical perspective combining the high and popular strands into a more coherent view.

Keywords: poetry, popular poetry, folklore, ballads, nationalism, Scotland, Jacobitism

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