Slave insurrections in literature, Antislavery movements in literature, American literature--19th century--History and criticism, Slavery in literature, Abolitionists in literature, and English literature--18th century--History and criticism
Lenora Warren tells a new story about the troubled history of abolition and slave violence by examining representations of shipboard mutiny and insurrection in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Anglo-American and American literature. Fire on the Water centers on five black sailors, whose experiences of slavery and insurrection either inspired or found resonance within fiction: Olaudah Equiano, Denmark Vesey, Joseph Cinqué, Madison Washington, and Washington Goode. These stories of sailors, both real and fictional, reveal how the history of mutiny and insurrection is both shaped by, and resistant to, the prevailing abolitionist rhetoric surrounding the efficacy of armed rebellion as a response to slavery. Pairing well-known texts with lesser-known figures (Billy Budd and Washington Goode) and well-known figures with lesser-known texts (Denmark Vesey and the work of John Howison), this book reveals the richness of literary engagement with the politics of slave violence. Published by Bucknell University Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.
American literature--African American authors--History and criticism, Slavery--United States--Illustrations, Slaves--United States--Illustrations, Antislavery movements in literature, Slavery in literature, and American literature--19th century--History and criticism
From the 1787 Wedgwood antislavery medallion featuring the image of an enchained and pleading black body to Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained (2012) and Steve McQueen's Twelve Years a Slave (2013), slavery as a system of torture and bondage has fascinated the optical imagination of the transatlantic world. Scholars have examined various aspects of the visual culture that was slavery, including its painting, sculpture, pamphlet campaigns, and artwork. Yet an important piece of this visual culture has gone unexamined: the popular and frequently reprinted antislavery illustrated books published prior to Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) that were utilized extensively by the antislavery movement in the first half of the nineteenth century.The Illustrated Slave analyzes some of the more innovative works in the archive of antislavery illustrated books published from 1800 to 1852 alongside other visual materials that depict enslavement. Martha J. Cutter argues that some illustrated narratives attempt to shift a viewing reader away from pity and spectatorship into a mode of empathy and interrelationship with the enslaved. She also contends that some illustrated books characterize the enslaved as obtaining a degree of control over narrative and lived experiences, even if these figurations entail a sense that the story of slavery is beyond representation itself. Through exploration of famous works such as Uncle Tom's Cabin, as well as unfamiliar ones by Amelia Opie, Henry Bibb, and Henry Box Brown, she delineates a mode of radical empathy that attempts to destroy divisions between the enslaved individual and the free white subject and between the viewer and the viewed.
Emotions in literature, African Americans in literature, Literature and society--United States--History--19th century, Slavery in literature, American literature--19th century--History and criticism, Apocalyptic literature, and Antislavery movements in literature
In contrast to the prevailing scholarly consensus that understands sentimentality to be grounded on a logic of love and sympathy, Apocalyptic Sentimentalism demonstrates that in order for sentimentality to work as an antislavery engine, it needed to be linked to its seeming opposite—fear, especially the fear of God's wrath. Most antislavery reformers recognized that calls for love and sympathy or the representation of suffering slaves would not lead an audience to “feel right” or to actively oppose slavery. The threat of God's apocalyptic vengeance—and the terror that this threat inspired—functioned within the tradition of abolitionist sentimentality as a necessary goad for sympathy and love. Fear, then, was at the center of nineteenth-century sentimental strategies for inciting antislavery reform, bolstering love when love faltered, and operating as a powerful mechanism for establishing interracial sympathy. Depictions of God's apocalyptic vengeance constituted the most efficient strategy for antislavery writers to generate a sense of terror in their audience.Focusing on a range of important antislavery figures, including David Walker, Nat Turner, Maria Stewart, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and John Brown, Apocalyptic Sentimentalism illustrates how antislavery discourse worked to redefine violence and vengeance as the ultimate expression (rather than denial) of love and sympathy. At the same time, these warnings of apocalyptic retribution enabled antislavery writers to express, albeit indirectly, fantasies of brutal violence against slaveholders. What began as a sentimental strategy quickly became an incendiary gesture, with antislavery reformers envisioning the complete annihilation of slaveholders and defenders of slavery.
English language--19th century--Rhetoric, English language--18th century--Rhetoric, Slave trade in literature, Antislavery movements in literature, English literature--19th century--History and criticism, Slavery in literature, English literature--18th century--History and criticism, Antislavery movements--Great Britain--History--19th century, and Antislavery movements--Great Britain--History--18th century
How did the arguments developed in the debate to abolish the slave trade help to construct a British national identity and character in the late eighteenth century? Srividhya Swaminathan examines books, pamphlets, and literary works to trace the changes in rhetorical strategies utilized by both sides of the abolitionist debate. Framing them as competing narratives engaged in defining the nature of the Briton, Swaminathan reads the arguments of pro- and anti-abolitionists as a series of dialogues among diverse groups at the center and peripheries of the empire. Arguing that neither side emerged triumphant, Swaminathan suggests that the Briton who emerged from these debates represented a synthesis of arguments, and that the debates to abolish the slave trade are marked by rhetorical transformations defining the image of the Briton as one that led naturally to nineteenth-century imperialism and a sense of global superiority. Because the slave-trade debates were waged openly in print rather than behind the closed doors of Parliament, they exerted a singular influence on the British public. At their height, between 1788 and 1793, publications numbered in the hundreds, spanned every genre, and circulated throughout the empire. Among the voices represented are writers from both sides of the Atlantic in dialogue with one another, such as key African authors like Ignatius Sancho, Phillis Wheatley, and Olaudah Equiano; West India planters and merchants; and Quaker activist Anthony Benezet. Throughout, Swaminathan offers fresh and nuanced readings that eschew the view that the abolition of the slave trade was inevitable or that the ultimate defeat of pro-slavery advocates was absolute.