Introduction: Evolving Perspectives on Working-Class Literature [chapter]

John Lennon, Magnus Nilsson
2020 Working-Class Literature(s) Volume II. Historical and International Perspectives  
The main impetus to publish the first volume of Working-Class Literature(s): Historical and International Perspectives was simple: we were unhappy with the scholarly framing surrounding working-class literature. Excellent work was, of course, available, but much scholarship in our field was -in our view -too strictly nationalistic in outlook, too focused on the distant past, and too often theoretically outdated. As we present this second volume, we see that the scholarly framework has continued
more » ... to evolve in exciting new directions. Today, there is no lack of cutting-edge research on working-class literature and we are proud to recruit to our two edited collections junior and senior scholars who are innovatively exploring this literature. Together they will push working-class literary studies in new directions, challenging previously held beliefs about what working-class literature is and about who is writing it. They are building upon previous work but are also aware of the need to introduce new perspectives and to revise established literary histories. Most exciting to us is that there are clear tendencies within this contemporary research to establish international connections among scholars while making salient transnational comparisons between different traditions of working-class literature and research. This reminds us of a beautiful scene early in Maxim Gorky's 1906 classic novel Mother [Мать] depicting Russian workers surprised to read literature about workers in other countries.
doi:10.16993/bbf.a fatcat:r57iztblybd7hbv2axihaladoq