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Talking RevolutionEdward Rushton's Rebellious Poetics, 1782-1814$
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Franca Dellarosa

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781781381441

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781381441.001.0001

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date: 20 October 2017

‘Written near one of the Docks of Liverpool’*

‘Written near one of the Docks of Liverpool’*

Chapter:
(p.23) 1 ‘Written near one of the Docks of Liverpool’*
Source:
Talking Revolution
Author(s):

Franca Dellarosa

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9781781381441.003.0001

Edward Rushton’s controversial relationship with his hometown provides the ground for the book’s introductory chapter, which is devoted to sketching the socio-political and cultural framework of late eighteenth-century Liverpool, as the problematic setting for Rushton’s radical experience. Available sources, such as local histories, pamphlets, poems and plays (Wallace 1795; Walker 1789; Harpley, 1790) are examined, providing the discursive texture against which Rushton envisions his own perception of his hometown and society. Textual evidence coming from his creative writing as well as from records of his letters testifies to Rushton’s keenly critical eye, chiefly, but not exclusively, directed towards the city’s entanglement in the slave business. Rushton’s alternative narrative is epitomised in the poem ‘To a Redbreast in November’, which offers a key to a fuller comprehension of the poet’s stance, particularly in relation to the pieces centred on enslaved protagonists. The scrutiny of related primary sources allows for the possibility of embedding textual analysis within a wider consideration of the writer’s place in the cultural and political context of his time.

Keywords:   Edward Rushton, eighteenth century Liverpool, slave business, To a Redbreast in November, radical experience, enslaved protagonists

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