Silhouette & Genius: Poetic Observations

Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway
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From his cell Montgomery longed for the conversation of absent friends, forlornly speaking instead to the loyal wagtail and the convivial robin; birds who would visit his window each day. This week we are joined on the blog by University of Sheffield undergraduate, Sonia Khan. During my time on this project I have been researching the astounding legacy of James Montgomery. Yet, when I tell people about my research, and about Montgomery himself, I am greeted with disappointingly blank faces. I answer these questions as best as I can.

A man who — if you look close enough — continues to resonate today, as a fundamental part of Sheffield identity. In his lifetime, Montgomery had helped the public, fought for the abolition of slavery, and his hymns and polemical poems were often used when a reverend or vicar passed away. Montgomery used his local newspaper, the Sheffield Iris to advertise its ongoing construction. Through this, Montgomery alongside others managed to secure enough funding for the construction of the Sheffield General Infirmary.

The Sheffield General Infirmary, opened in and was used by the public until its eventual closure in the s. However, once Montgomery died, his service to the community and to the city as a whole became much more pronounced. After his death, the works of Montgomery were constantly and consistently used for fundraising events. Montgomery was not just a singular part of these fundraisers; he created their platform. They demonstrate that the citizens of Sheffield were constantly, and effectively, drawn to Montgomery.

The citizens of Sheffield would happily peruse the poems that Montgomery had written at thirteen years of age.

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They would also be interested in his unpublished letters, which talked about the libels charged against him and the time that he spent in prison. Montgomery was no longer a mere man, but a consumable good. He was a figure that societies could package and sell, as the citizens of Sheffield were time and time again drawn to Montgomery.

Montgomery became so integral to the city of Sheffield that a statue was raised in honour. Later on, a bust was sculpted in the likeness of Montgomery. The bust itself can no longer be found, but a picture of it lives on at Sheffield Archives. It is clear then that the life of Montgomery was important to the citizens of Sheffield. The public were willing to invest in Montgomery; a clear sign that they valued him. As a result of this local importance, Montgomery came to embody a central part of Sheffield identity. It just became more prominent.

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Montgomery contributed to the identity of Sheffield when he was still alive. The provincial newspaper the Sheffield Iris was controversially known, but it was a newspaper designed to give a voice to the public. Through the paper, Montgomery championed for the rights of the people- and he was recognised for doing so.

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Delivery times may vary, especially during peak periods. The skalds, the bards, the writers are not separate and exclusive. In his conclusion, Spoto counters the notion that Hitchcock's art was the outpouring of a peculiarly troubled mind. Please click the button below to reload the page. Item specifics Condition: New: A new, unread, unused book in perfect condition with no missing or damaged pages. It was a very interesting and often entertaining read. Nevertheless, despite the best efforts of the authorities, Gales and Montgomery were successful in establishing Sheffield as a city of protest more than happy to campaign against anything it perceives as wrong or unfair.

His work, his poems, and his radical past, made Montgomery a prolific and accessible person. People came to Montgomery, asking and entrusting him with their causes. This demonstrates that Montgomery was already known to be a part of Sheffield identity. When he was alive, Montgomery was recognised as a man who actively fought against inequity and injustice.

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When dead, Montgomery continued to embody those qualities. Its granite pedestal reads:. In this blog post our Cultural Engagement Fellow, Dr Adam James Smith, looks at some of the poems that were not written in protest but instead the joys and interests of Sheffield citizens at the end of the 18th century. The poems in this blog post were first printed in the Sheffield Register , a popular provincial newspaper edited by Joseph Gales from to Each issue of this broadsheet paper was four pages long.

The first detailed international and national news, the second news from London and the third news from Sheffield.

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These poems came from a selection of sources. Some were aggregated from elsewhere, with poems listed as coming from London, Newcastle, Manchester and sometimes as far afield as Edinburgh and New York. As a result, these poems offer a fascinating insight into the lives and every-day quotidian of people living in Sheffield years ago. Others directly critique the actions of a government managed in boardrooms and forums located over miles south of their own homes. Some even go so far as to suggest that that central government would never truly work on behalf of the majority whilst the most powerful politicians were apparently more interested in lining their own pockets with tax-payers money than genuinely perusing progressive reform.

It was a strange and different time. The erection of the hospital was of course good news. Elsewhere poems take on a more elegiac role, marking the passing of important figures around the city and indicating to readers the significance of their loss. There are also some poems which reveal what it was that Sheffield residents enjoyed seeing and doing. A fair number of these poems demonstrate an interest in tourism, recording and recommending visits to local sites of interest and, sometimes, country houses.

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Transcribed below are two such poems, each published in The first mourns the destruction of Sheffield Manor, indicating the esteem with which the house was held by the poet whilst gesturing to what the house represented to Sheffield citizens. Primarily, the house has become a symbol of history, something that should have been preserved. Specifically, the loss of the house also represents to this poet the loss of an important fragment of Mary Queen of Scots tragic story; an unfortunate tale compensated for only by its memorialization in the form of Sheffield Manor, now also lost.

For this Register-reader the country house represents a way of preserving stories, of processing and understanding a shared public history.

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The second poem sees another Sheffield resident inspired to reflect on the linearity of time when visiting a sundial in the Derbyshire town of Buxton. What canst thou do here? Some happier climate seek; Where Phoebus from his radiant car At least peeps once a week. The poem might smack of bathos now, as the poet imagines the supernatural machinery typically associated with the epic poetry of the ancient world here populating a small Derbyshire town, but this actually represents a deliberate effort on behalf of the poet to situate their own life and experience within a broader poetic universe, forging a distinct and deliberate kinship between Buxton and Olympus.

And, significantly, this moment of reflection is brought about through tourism. Book-mark our page where we are releasing a newly-edited poem from The Repository of Genius every week. This post is about a figure who would have been familiar to readers of the radical press and to Sheffielders more widely in the late eighteenth century.

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People familiar with his songs believe he should be celebrated as a folk hero in Sheffield and honoured and remembered alongside its more straight-faced radicals like James Montgomery and Samuel Holberry. But unlike progressive men of letters like Joseph Gales and James Montgomery, Joseph Mather was working-class — a file-cutter by trade — and his songs convey the texture of working-class life in the town as it was then and address power and corruption with the irreverent invective of working-class speech. He began to use his facility for language to compose songs about local big-wigs whilst he was working in Shemeld Croft roughly where Ponds Forge is now.

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He obviously enjoyed the thrill and earned the admiration of local workers to the extent that he began to supplement his meagre earnings as a file-hewer by selling his songs in the streets, often from the back of a donkey, which he mounted back-to-front.

This striking image of Mather peddling his wares is also an image of a crucial development in the making of the working class. They would have been read aloud at home, in ale-houses and at the political societies that were beginning to appear in industrial centres: the performance of these texts was an integral component of the grass-roots burgeoning of literacy at the end of the eighteenth century that was intimately bound up with dissenting demagoguery, democratic ideals and radical re-imaginings of the body politic.

One reason that Mather is such a powerful symbol of the emergence of working-class writing is that, despite his intimate knowledge of the Bible and his ability to read, he was unable to write. This is the first song in the book:. Samuel Earnshaw, carries within it many themes recognisable in working-class writing right up to the present day: the physical effort and pain of work, poverty and debt, starvation and preoccupation with the belly, comparisons with slavery and revolutionary calls-to-arms.

Fittingly for a metal worker, the song uses chain-rhyme, making it robust, straightforward and easily memorable. In these more light-hearted songs, Mather represents the leisure, attitudes and sense of humour of ordinary working-class people and in doing so contributes to their cultural self-image and the beginnings of a complex working-class culture that would develop through the nineteenth century.

Genius at Play: The Curious Mind of John Horton Conway

Here, though, I want briefly to discuss two of them because they are compelling stories about Sheffield and Sheffielders that link into historical events of national and international significance and demonstrate the power and importance of working-class writing. Why had two of his friends been hanged over harmless drunken horseplay? Wharton, full of ale and worried what his wife would say, had asked Constable Eyre to give the others a fright and ensure he got his basket back — it contained the shoulder of mutton, a pound of tobacco, half a stone of soap, seven pounds of butter and 4d in money.

The reasons for this wildly disproportionate reaction take us from a shopping list and the fug of ale and clay pipes in the White Hart to the other end of the class spectrum.

Silhouette & Genius: Poetic Observations, Brock, A. S., New Book

Andrew Sommerville Brock was born at his grandmother's house in the town of Crieff in Perthshire, Scotland on the 29th August The third son of James. Silhouette & Genius: Poetic Observations eBook: A. S. Brock: Kindle Store.

The Earl paid close attention to events in the town and was concerned about the spread of radical ideas since Joseph Gales had started the radical Sheffield Register in As soon as word of the verdict reached Sheffield a petition was signed by hundreds in the town and urgently dispatched to the Home Office: the injustice was so flagrant that pardons were immediately sent back north, but flooding near Lincoln held up the messenger and he arrived at York in time to save only Michael Bingham.

The Freemen elected Enoch Trickett as their leader and he demanded the freedom of election in terms that — in the context of events in France and rising radicalism at home — were seen by the establishment to be revolutionary.