James Montgomery: Poetry, Protest and Prison

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Find out about the legacy of James Montgomery, an 18th-century Sheffield-based poet as we celebrate the 250 years since his birth.

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2021 marks the 250th birthday of James Montgomery, a Sheffield-based poet, radical newspaper editor, hymn-writer, philanthropist and abolitionist who in 1795 was twice imprisoned in York Castle for publishing poems critical of his government.

Join Hamish Mathison of Sheffield University and Adam Smith of York St John University as they reflect on Montgomery’s vast legacies while also asking what his commitments to freedom and fairness can teach readers today.

This event is hosted live on Zoom Webinar. You’ll receive a link to join a couple of days before the event takes place and a reminder an hour before. During the event, you can ask questions via a Q&A function but audience cameras and microphones will remain muted throughout.

Dr Hamish Mathison is a lecturer in the School of English at Sheffield University, where he researches, amongst other things, early newspaper history, print culture and patriotic sentiment in eighteenth-century Britain. In 2016 Mathison co-edited Poetry, Conspiracy and Radicalism, a collection of James Montgomery’s protest poetry. He also directed ‘Sheffield: Print, Protest, Poetry’, am AHRC-funded project resulting in a digital anthology of poems printed in Montgomery’s radical newspaper, The Sheffield Iris.

Dr Adam J Smith is a senior lecturer in eighteenth-century literature at York St John University, where he researches eighteenth-century print culture, with a particular interest in satire and protest. In 2016 Smith co-edited Poetry, Conspiracy and Radicalism, a collection of James Montgomery’s protest poetry. He has also published on Montgomery’s prison writing and, since 2017, curated ‘Words with Wagtails: York Prison Poetry’, an open access digital anthology of Montgomery’s prison poems.

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