Americas

Youngquist and Botkin, "Introduction: Black Romanticism: Romantic Circulations"

This Romantic Circles Praxis Volume moves the perspective of critical inquiry into British Romanticism from the Island (England) to the Islands (West Indies), considering the particular significance of the Atlantic—watery vortex of myriad economic and cultural exchanges, roaring multiplicity of agencies, and vast whirlpool of creative powers. Black Romanticism remembers a forgotten ancestry of British culture, recovering the vital agencies of diasporic Africans and creole cultures of the West Indies. It does so by practicing counter-literacy, reading the works of nation, empire, and colony against themselves to liberate the common cultures they occlude. The five essays presented here examine texts by or about Jean Jacque Dessalines, Juan Manzano, Jack Mansong, Mary Prince, and John Gabriel Stedman, following a circuitous route that begins in Africa and travels from Haiti, Jamaica, Cuba, Suriname, Bermuda, and Antigua to corresponding points in England, America, and the continent. The circulation of radically different adaptations of the “same” material provides new ways to understand the colonial Caribbean.
October 2011

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Szwydky, "Rewriting the History of Black Resistance: The Haitian Revolution, Jamaican Maroons and the “History” of Three-Fingered Jack in English Popular Culture, 1799-1830"

The story of Three-Fingered Jack (the escaped slave who terrorized the British colonists in Jamaica from 1780 to 1781) appeared in England in at least five major versions between 1799 and 1830. Although different in their respective politics and approaches, these five nineteenth-century version of the story deemphasized the collective threat that underlies Three-Fingered Jack’s exploits in 1780-81, during an time of several slave uprisings in the Caribbean, including the Haitian Revolution.
October 2011

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Speitz, "Blood Sugar and Salt Licks: Corroding Bodies and Preserving Nations in The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself"

Speitz reveals how Prince’s narrative attests to the importance of salt, a central product of slave labor in the British-held West Indies. Although its overall value is largely ignored in literary scholarship, Speitz demonstrates how harvesting salt proved harmful enough to inspire Prince’s rendition of a horrific contortion of being. Her repeated detrimental exposure to salt transforms Prince’s body, consciousness, and ultimately, of course, her narrative--making it tantamount to a material history and psychological case study of a forced merger of landscape, labor, body, and mind. Prince’s text records how lethal amounts of salt seep through the skin, forging a visceral, literal, and grotesque union between salt, the commodified substance, and the slave, the commodified worker. Further, buttressing the vast amount of scholarship on the historical significance of luxury consumables which could easily impede international or regional revenue streams if boycotted, Speitz brings to light the unacknowledged history of Caribbean salt raking relative to not only British colonial economies and politics, but also to the revolutionary history of the United States, in which it plays a pivotal role.
October 2011

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Almeida, "London-Kingston-Caracas: The Transatlantic Self-Fashioning of Simón Bolívar"

This article argues that transatlantic readings of Romanticism must go beyond the limits imposed by a monolingual, Anglophone definition of the transatlantic. An analysis of the bilingual presentation of Simón Bolívar's persona and writings for a London public in publications such as the Jamaica Gazette, Variedades, and the New Monthly Magazine shows how this amplified notion of the transatlantic helps us better understand Britain's political and literary interests in the Americas. This essay appears in _Sullen Fires Across the Atlantic: Essays in Transatlantic Romanticism_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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Crocco, "The Ruins of Empire: Nationalism, Art, and Empire in Hemans's Modern Greece"

This study discusses the importance of the trope of ruins and the paradigm of decline and fall to the rhetoric of nationalism and imperialism in Felicia Hemans's Modern Greece. Contingent to this subject is an exploration of the ways in which female writers of the Romantic Period were able to enter the public sphere and broach the often male-gendered topoi of nationalism, travel, and empire by adopting differing patriotic stances and unique narratological structures. This essay appears in _Romanticism and Patriotism: Nation, Empire, Bodies, Rhetoric_, a volume of _Romantic Circles Praxis Series_, prepared exclusively for Romantic Circles (http://www.rc.umd.edu/), University of Maryland.

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