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Poetry with a punch

8 January 2024

Poetry resources from special collections

Welsh treasures from University’s Special Collections feature in national Romantics exhibition

Six treasures from the University’s Special Collections and Archives are shedding light on how poetry was used to highlight the political and social issues of the Romantic period.

Young Romantics in the City explores the diversity of writers and writing of the Romantic period – the late 18th and early 19th century - through the interconnected themes of Politics, Class, Gender and Race in a partnership between Keats House and Cardiff University.

Exhibition co-curator and Lecturer in English Literature, Dr Anna Mercer explains more:

‘The Romantic period is often associated with celebrating the natural world and the idea of the author as a lone genius, composing verse in an abstract, dreamlike state. Today, Romanticism is being redefined as distinctively political, collaborative and metropolitan.

The original ballads featured - in both Welsh and English - demonstrate how important verse was for sharing news and stories in working-class communities in the nineteenth century.’

The ballads making their way to London cover topics of the day, such as crime, murder, and drunken tales of gossip.

Young Romantics in the City is on until Feb 2024 at Keats House, the home of Romantic poet John Keats in Hampstead, with free entry to Cardiff University students and staff with proof of affiliation.

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