The term “labouring-class” poets has come to describe poets of working origins who came to prominence in significant numbers during the eighteenth century and thereafter. Following hundreds of years of critical debate about the most appropriate descriptor for these poets, “labouring class” has become preferred only relatively recently. A clear summary and discussion of this issue is provided by William J. Christmas in his monograph The Lab’ring Muses: Work, Writing, and the Social Order in English Plebeian Poetry (2001, pp. 41-3). As he notes, the critical history of these poets can be traced back to the first time their work was collected, Robert Southey’s The Lives and Works of the …
Van-Hagen, Stephen. "Labouring-Class Poets". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 03 March 2007; last revised 30 November -1.
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=1714, accessed 18 April 2015.]