Early nineteenth-century England saw a protracted and vigorous controversy over the teaching of writing in Methodist Sunday schools. The Methodist preacher and printer Joseph Barker contributed a passionate autobiographical pamphlet to the pro-writing faction. Barker attributed his own ability to write to his attendance at Sunday school, and his pamphlet details the importance of everyday acts of copying and writing to his life as a Christian and a man. Barker argues that Sunday is the only day on which the child factory workers can attend school, and that to deny them writing is an act of cruelty. Using biblical allusions, images of slavery and of the human body, Barker represents writing as a human activity. Barker associates the ability to write with freedom, but his utopian vision of writing for all is a contradictory one which he cannot reconcile with the material facts of child labour.
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.