Past event

The Environment of Labouring-Class Writing Dr Ve-Yin Tee, Associate Professor (Nanzan University, Japan)

The School of English will be hosting Dr Ve-Yin Tee for a roundtable discussion and launch of his recent edited volume, Romantic Environmental Sensibility: Nature, Class and Empire (Edinburgh University Press, 2022), which applies a global, class-based lens to the history of environmental destruction and thought in the Romantic period.

The great poet of natural history is of course John Clare, whose star continues to rise with the greening of Romantic studies. But the Catalogue of Labouring-Class and Self-Taught Poets and Poetry c.1700–1900, put together by John Goodridge, brings to our attention hundreds of Clare's labouring contemporaries, who we are in a position to give voice to. The raison d'être for Romantic Environmental Sensibility: Nature, Class and Empire – which argues for the need to highlight ‘the multiplicity of perspectives and longstanding inequalities' in Romantic period discourse — applies with added weight to Romantic labouring poets, who have been mostly ignored within Anglo-American scholarship. In this talk, Ve-Yin will touch upon the inequalities that hampered labouring-class poets as well as the scholars who have studied them since. He will explore some of the different modes of seeing that labouring-class poets provide — on the environment, work and community. Finally, he will consider what working with labouring-class poets reveals about the responsibilities and obligations we bear as scholars to people of the past.

Ve-Yin's talk will be responded to by scholars working on related subjects at St Andrews:

– Richard Irvine, Senior Lecturer and Director of Teaching in Social Anthropology. His work examines the moral and temporal relationships with landscape and the impact of enclosure. He is the author of An Anthropology of Deep Time (Cambridge University Press, 2020).

– Adam Bridgen, Fleeman Research Fellow in the School of English, whose research interrogates the social dynamics of writing on slavery, empire, and the environment during the long 18th century, and who contributed an essay on labouring-class apocalypticism to the volume.

– Sam Hickford, a PhD researcher on John Clare, former journalist, and poet. His first collection, Poems Sketched Upon the M60, was published last year with Littoral Press, and offers a series of reflections on displacement and temp work in Britain's degraded environments.

If you have any questions about the event, please contact the organiser, Adam Bridgen ([email protected])