Cooper, Thomas

(1805-1892)
   Born at Leicester, he returned to Gainsborough with his widowed mother, who eked out a meager living as a dyer and by making and selling work boxes. Thomas attended the local Bluecoat School, and at fifteen became a shoemaker and at twentythree opened his own school; he taught himself six languages, including Greek, Latin, and Hebrew. He was involved in the Chartist movement, was a lay preacher, and started writing for the Stamford Mercury in 1836. His ambition took him to London in 1839, where he became a journalist and writer. Following a Chartist speech in Hanley, Staffordshire, which caused a riot, he was imprisoned for two years on a charge of sedition and conspiracy. He wrote novels, poetry and his autobiography, The Life of Thomas Cooper (1872), as well as many books and tracts on Christian belief. Among his many works is Paradise of Martyrs (1873), and while in prison he wrote Purgatory of Suicides (1845), a political epic in ten books, written in Spenserian stanzas. Cooper's Poetical Works were published in London, 1877. Some of his poems: "Chartist Song," "The Old Man's Song," "The Swineherd of Stow," "The Woodman's Song."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition, 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. English Poetry: Author Search. Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 (http://www.lib.utexas.edu:8080/search/epoetry/author.html). Stanford University Libraries and Academic Information Resources (http://library.stanford.edu). The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbiagrangers.org). The Poorhouse Fugitives: Self-Taught Poets and Poetry in Victorian Britain. Brian Maidment, ed. Carcanet, 1987.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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