Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

Ebenezer Jones:

39) Studies of Sensation and Event. Poems.

London 1843/1879

This second edition from 1879 was prefaced and annotated by Richard Herne Shepherd, with memorial notices by his brother Sumner Jones and by his friend William James Linton.

The noted Pre-Raphaelite scholar William Fredemann counts the tragically neglected Chartist poet Ebenezer Jones together with William Blake, David Scott and Charles Jeremiah Wells among “that group of painters and poets worth remembering who were the objects of Dante Rossetti’s early enthusiasm.” Rossetti himself praised Jones in a magazine article for his “vivid disorderly power,”  and of whose best known poem When the world is burning, which is included in this selection, the artist is reported to have said: “Had it been the writing of Edgar Poe, it would have enjoyed world-wide celebrity.”

Jones was a literary follower of Shelley and Carlyle and a close friend of Linton’s. He was introduced to him in 1842 by his fellow engraver Alfred Harral. Linton recollects their joint walking tours through the Lake District in the early 1840s: “I had fallen in love with our beautiful mountain land in a hasty ramble with a poet friend, Ebenezer Jones, a clerk in a tea-dealer’s house, who had ventured to indulge in dreams of poetic fame. A true poet he was, if not a great one, the author of a volume, Studies of Sensation and Event, published in 1843, very characteristic of the young man’s impressionable nature, his impulsiveness and sense of beauty, but which utterly failed of public appreciation.” (Memories

Mary Phyllis Ashraf developed in her Introduction to the English Working Class Literature a rather contrary view to Linton’s appraisal of the relevance of Jones’ poetry. She refers to him as “the most interesting of the poetic renovators in the midth of the century“ and, moreover, as “the most eminent pioneer of urban poetry,“ who managed to update the contents of Victorian lyrics and enhance them to gain a new level of realism.