Edward Everett Root Publishers Co. Ltd.


About this book

This innovative work is established as the substantive exploration of the literary endeavours of working people and socialists over 200 years.

H. Gustav Klaus challenges the complacent assumptions about working class and socialist literature as merely a “symptom”, arguing that the literature of labour is an integral part of the historical development of the working class and deserves much closer attention.

This work breaks away from the ‘Great Tradition’ and in revealing the rich source of creativity within the literature of labour, introduces an alternative tradition of English literature.

About the author

H. GUSTAV KLAUS is Emeritus Professor of the Literature of the British Isles, University of Rostock, Germany. He has also been a Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, a Research Fellow at the Universities of Edinburgh and Aberdeen, and a Visiting Fellow at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His more recent books include Factory Girl (1998) and James Kelman (2004) as well as the co-edited collections British Industrial Fictions (2000),  ‘To Hell with Culture’: Anarchism and Twentieth-Century British Literature (2005) and Ecology and the Literature of the British Left: The Red and the Green (2012). His The Literature of Labour: Two Hundred Years of Working-Class Writing, and the edited essay collections The Socialist Novel in Britain and The Rise of Socialist Fiction, 1880–1914, all with new introductions, are also available again from EER.


“This book is a fine example of sustained, extending and always thoughtful research.” – Raymond Williams, New Society.

“Klaus’s commentary is alert to distinction among plebeian, working-class and ‘socialist’ literature.” – D.D. Murdoch, Choice.

The Literature of Labour

200 Years of Working Class Writing.

Second edition with new introduction.

​H. Gustav Klaus

ISBN 9781911454908 Paperback £24.99  Order
ISBN 9781911454915 Hardback  £40.00  Order

216mm x 140mm.  230pp.