Teaching Race and Racial Difference in Romantic Reformist Fiction
A. A. Markley, Penn State University Brandywine
During the 1790s and the early years of the nineteenth century, a wide
range of writers began to experiment with the conventions of the popular
novel—the novel of sensibility, the picaresque narrative, the domestic
novel, and the gothic novel, among others—in an attempt to open
the eyes of the reading public to the possibilities of political and
social reform. Many such writers were labeled by conservatives as "Jacobins," a
misnomer borrowed from a political group in France, and one that has
been preserved by critics in the centuries since. Modern critics have
tended to limit the term "Jacobin" to a small circle of writers:
Robert Bage, William Godwin, Thomas Holcroft, Elizabeth Inchbald, and
Mary Wollstonecraft. Nevertheless,
there were many others at work during these years who, with varying degrees
of radicalism, shared the conviction that the novel could be used to
convert the opinions of the reading public, including such figures as
Maria Edgeworth, Eliza Fenwick, Mary Hays, Anna Maria Mackenzie, Amelia
Opie, Mary Robinson, Charlotte Smith, John Thelwall, and Helen Maria
Although those labeled as Jacobins never became a unified political
party espousing one particular doctrine of political change, many authors
who sought to disseminate a reformist agenda through their writings did
share certain ideals, including 1) a commitment to the rights of the
individual that included an emphasis on equality between men and women
and an emerging awareness of the disenfranchisement of the lower classes
and racial others, 2) a devotion to the Enlightenment idea that reason
could and must triumph over tradition through political and social reform, and
3) a conviction that reform could best be achieved by working to alter
the opinions of the individual. This group of reformist writers addressed
a variety of political and social issues in the revolutionary decade,
including advocating for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade,
the rights of women, resolution of the Jewish question through tolerance,
the leveling of the class system, and the enfranchisement of such groups
as foreigners, the poor, and the dispossessed in Britain. I have found
that these reformists' novels offer students an opportunity to study
the political and social controversies of a period in which the rights
of the individual and the subjection of the disenfranchised were first
widely debated in English fiction. In emphasizing questions of social
equity, many of these novels unsettle questions pertaining to gender,
class, and race, and thus offer a wealth of opportunities for productive
classroom discussions on these topics. However, with the exception of
Godwin's Caleb Williams and Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs
of Woman; or Maria, most of these works continue to be forgotten
today. Few are regularly included in courses on Romantic literature or
on the eighteenth-century novel, although works by Bage, Hays, Inchbald,
and Smith, among others, are gradually beginning to find their way into
My comments here are based on my experiences teaching a variety of reformist
works in senior-level courses and seminars for English majors on the
eighteenth-century novel, on the literature of the Romantic period, and
on the literature of the 1790s more specifically. These works are perhaps
most appropriate for students who have some background in eighteenth-century
and Romantic literature, but I have also introduced them to students
without such backgrounds by beginning with introductory readings on the
political atmosphere of the 1790s, including selections from Burke and
Paine, and Godwin and Wollstonecraft. While English majors are concerned
about their sufficient exposure to canonical texts, I have found that
many of them are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate
in new research on lesser-known and out-of-print works from the Romantic
period and that they welcome assignments that introduce them to research
methods involving primary research on such texts. Spade work on long-forgotten
texts can be very exciting, as one never knows exactly what will be uncovered;
here undergraduates can really feel the thrill of primary research.
In this essay I describe assignments and topics pertaining to Romantic-period
reformist texts that treat issues of race and racial difference in particular,
and I propose a design for a semester-length course devoted to this topic,
the syllabus for which can be found below. Particular units of this course
might be easily adapted for more general introductions to Romantic literature
or to the British novel, both at the upper-level undergraduate and at
graduate levels. The dramatic influx of political content into both reformist
and conservative novels of the 1790s and early 1800s laid the groundwork
for the development of the novel of social consciousness that would become
such a critical component of the genre in the nineteenth century. This
history also makes these works ideal for courses on the novel that may
include later works by such socially conscious figures as Dickens, Thackeray,
Gaskell, Eliot, or Hardy.
In my experience, the novels of the 1790s initiate dynamic learning experiences
in the classroom because students readily recognize the degree to which
the controversies they address and the values they profess link them
to debates about civil rights that have reached well into our own time.
It is true that students today often find Romantic-period novels foreign
and far-removed from the circumstances of their own lives. In order to
draw them into the material and to get them reading and thinking seriously
about these texts, it helps to focus on broad themes that place these
works in a context that students recognize as relevant to their own experience.
Most students recognize issues of race and racial difference as charged
and often pressing issues in their own life experiences, and I have found
that they tend to become more engaged and invested in our discussions
when I ask them to read reformist novels with a particular eye towards
how race and racism are encoded within the works and how these authors
begin to raise questions about assumptions formed on the basis of racial
difference. Such an approach has great pedagogical value, for as students
examine how race and racism is depicted and combated in these works,
they are better able to apply such ethical considerations to situations
in their own immediate and personal contexts. Moreover, as they come
to recognize that race and racism function differently at different times,
they may come to realize that race and racism have histories.
Although the racial other—the African or Jewish character, for
example—appears only occasionally in British literature of the
late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, I have had great success
in asking students to analyze, assess, and compare stereotypical treatments
of these races in more conservative eighteenth-century texts with the
ways these representations begin to be altered by reformist writers who
in many cases were working to shape an early argument for the humane
treatment of all human beings. Equal civil rights for British citizens
of all races would not come to pass for many more generations, but early
glimmers of an emerging social conscience in the late eighteenth century
would nevertheless contribute significantly to the first stages of that
movement. By focusing on issues of race, students are able to recognize
that these long-forgotten texts have a direct relationship to cultural
problems and issues that continue to challenge us today.
Background Readings on
Slavery and Abolition
I suggest beginning a course on the treatment of race in Romantic-period
fiction with a reading of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave (1688),
a text Catherine Gallagher has called "the first literary work in
English to grasp the global interactions of the modern world," and
one to which late-eighteenth-century treatments on race often allude.
Gallagher's Bedford Cultural Edition of Oroonoko provides supplementary
materials that offer students a wealth of background on race
and blackness excerpted from such writers as Montaigne, Jonson, Dryden,
Steele, Addison, and Defoe, and on the nature of the slave trade in West
Africa, the Caribbean, and Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth
centuries. This edition also excerpts Thomas Southerne's 1695 dramatic
adaptation of Oroonoko as well as a 1760 adaptation of Southerne's
play that demonstrates how effectively the Royal Prince's story was adapted
to the abolitionist cause in the eighteenth century. After we discuss Oroonoko as
a literary work, I have had students study these supplementary works
and prepare class presentations on them to instruct
their peers on a wide variety of these related issues and topics.
The popular dramatizations of Oroonoko provide a perfect segue
into a study of abolitionist poetry of the late eighteenth century. The
range of selections provided in the section entitled "Slavery, the
Slave Trade, and Abolition in Britain" in Anne K. Mellor's and Richard
E. Matlak's British Literature 1780-1830 provide a perfect introduction
to these works; other anthologies of British literature such as those
published by Longman and Broadview Press contain many of the same selections. In
the Mellor/Matlak anthology, excerpts from Lord Mansfield's 1772 judgment
on the rights of slaves, as well as from abolitionist writings by Ottobah
Cugoano, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Clarkson provide useful background
for our work on such poems as William Cowper's "Pity for Poor Africans" (1788),
with its parable exposing those who decry slavery without recognizing
their own complicity in supporting a slave-driven economy, and Amelia
Opie's "The Black Man's Lament, or How to Make Sugar" (1826),
in which a slave speaker explains in vivid terms why his sufferings outweigh
those of the laborer in Britain.
Understandably, I have found that my students are most profoundly affected
by our work with actual slave narratives from the period, such as The
History of Mary Prince (1831) and selections from Olaudah Equiano's The
Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), both
of which are commonly excerpted in anthologies of British literature.
Angelo Costanzo's 2004 Broadview edition of Equiano's autobiography is
particularly useful for its supplementary materials on the first Abolition
Movement. Prince's and Equiano's narratives work well together because
each describes a distinctly different experience of slavery. Prince's
account of the abuses she suffers from a series of cruel owners is more
viscerally disturbing for its graphic illustration of the particular
vulnerability of slave women. Equiano's narrative, on the other hand,
raises thought-provoking issues relating to its influence on late eighteenth-century
readers. Students are interested to learn that Equiano embarked on one
of the earliest book tours when his autobiography was published in order
to capitalize on the Narrative 's potential contribution to
the Abolition Movement. In
addition, the controversy over the actual place of Equiano's birth—Africa
versus South Carolina—plagued Equiano after the Narrative appeared
and continues amongst critics today, a debate that can spark a provocative
class discussion on what effect this question does or should have on
how we assess Equiano's life story today.
The African in England and in the Reformist Novel
I propose following the study of actual slave narratives by turning
to William Earle, Jr.'s Obi; or, The History of Three-fingered Jack, an
account of escaped slave named Jack Mansong, famous for his practice
of "obi" or "obeah," a West African brand of sorcery
or voodoo, and for his role as leader of a band of robbers in the early
novel is available in a Broadview edition edited by Srinivas Aravamudan
that includes the text of James Fawcett's pantomime of Mansong's story;
the pantomime and an 1820s-era melodrama can also be accessed in the
August 2002 Romantic Circles Praxis Volume dedicated to the history of Obi. Interestingly,
Fawcett's pantomime became a sensation on the London stage in the summer
of 1800 and remained popular for decades afterwards. While the success
of Fawcett's pantomime was likely due to Jack's superhuman portrayal
and the violence of his rebellious life and of his capture, the story
of Obi played an important role in opening Londoners' eyes
to many of the realities of slave life in the West Indies and to the
injustice of slavery as an institution. Charles Rzepka has pointed out
that by the 1820s Obi became an even more powerful vehicle
for English abolitionists, when William Murray converted the pantomime
into a melodrama and gave Jack a speaking role that allowed him to speak
out against the atrocities of the capture of Africans and of their treatment
by planters in the West Indian colonies. As
in the case of Southerne's dramatization of Behn's Oroonoko, teaching
the pantomime and melodrama of Obi alongside Earle's novel
allows students to analyze how specific aspects of the novel were translated
into affecting dramatic scenes and illustrates exactly how abolitionists
tended to utilize popular venues of contemporary entertainment to convert
their audiences to their cause. Obi also provides a link from
our work on abolitionist poetry and slave narratives to a particular
focus on reformist fiction.
In turning to the topic of race in Romantic-period fiction, I recommend
beginning with either Anna Maria Mackenzie's Slavery: Or, The Times (1792)
or Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray (1804). Certainly Opie's novel,
which is available in paperback editions edited by Miriam Wallace and
by Shelley King and John B. Peirce is easier to access. Mackenzie's Slavery, by
contrast, is a long-forgotten work available today only on Thomson Gale's
Eighteenth-Century Collections Online database (ECCO), and so is limited
to courses on university campuses that subscribe to this database, or
to those who are willing to provide students with photocopies of particular
chapters of the novel. Slavery is a quirky
novel, and Mackenzie's attempts to simulate the vernacular of particular
characters make it harder for students to follow at times; nevertheless
I have found it to be a very effective text for provoking dynamic classroom
discussions on its depiction of slavery and its abolitionist bent.
Mackenzie's primary goal in her novel lay in exposing the evils of the
slave trade and the mechanisms by which it was being perpetuated, and
she does so by recasting the Rousseauan child of nature in her hero Adolphus,
a young African prince who embodies the qualities of the hypersensitive
man of feeling to the fullest degree. As
the epistolary novel opens, the African chief Zimza of Tonouwah puts
his son Adolphus under the guardianship of a friend in London so that
the boy can be given an English education. Mackenzie may have based the
character of Adolphus and his experiences in England on any of a number
of contemporary accounts of African princes who were brought to Europe
to be educated, many of whom were sold into slavery despite their parents'
trust in the white traders and sailors who promised them safe passage. In
1749, for example, the son of a West African king and a friend were sold
into slavery by their ship's captain rather than being carried to England
as promised. After their ransom by the British government, the young
men enjoyed celebrity in London and were greeted by public applause when
they attended a Covent Garden revival of Southerne's Oroonoko. Students
are pleased to recognize the symbolic importance of Oroonoko when
Mackenzie's hero also attends a revival of the play.
Adolphus's position as an innocent raised in a simpler, yet in many
ways more civilized, culture allows him to make incisive observations
on contemporary and fashionable life in Britain and its colonies throughout
the novel. As soon as he arrives in England, Adolphus is shocked to witness
a press-gang force young men into service, and he asks how this practice
differs from the slave trade. Adolphus is also shocked by the social
conventions of the haut ton. He cannot understand the devotion
of the upper-class English to their nightly gambling routs, nor the cold
reserve of young English women who feign a lack of interest in the men
whose attentions they desire. By including such attacks of high society
in contemporary Britain, Mackenzie extends her critique of slavery into
a broader critique of the European class system. Ultimately, by placing
an innocent colonial spectator in cosmopolitan England, she is able to
expand what might have been simply a fictionalized abolitionist tract
into a wide-ranging assessment of the characteristics of a "civilized" world
that allows for and even nurtures slavery, enforced military service,
the subjection of women, and inheritance fraud, among many other social
evils of the day.
Mackenzie's particular brand of social satire owes much to Voltaire's L'Ingénu (1767),
and teachers who are interested in devoting class time to Slavery might
consider beginning by having students read Voltaire's satire. Alternatively,
a study of Slavery in the classroom might be usefully followed
by either Elizabeth Inchbald's Nature and Art (1796) or Robert
Bage's Hermsprong; or Man As He Is Not (1796), both of which
follow Mackenzie in adapting Voltaire's ingénu as a
critic of social mores and behaviors in 1790s Britain.
As an alternative to Slavery, Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray also
offers a rare view of an African character's experience of late eighteenth-century
England. Although the African is often stereotyped during this period
as the unflaggingly faithful servant to a white individual or family,
Opie employs and also moves beyond the stereotype in her characterization
of her heroine Adeline's companion, Savanna. Savanna is introduced in
the novel when the destitute Adeline decides to sell a valuable veil
at one third of its value in order to buy a pineapple as a treat for
her dying lover Glenmurray. On the way to the fruitmonger's, Adeline
encounters a family of former slaves in distress. Although he is deathly
ill, the father, William, is being arrested and taken to debtor's prison
for a debt of six pounds. Adeline deliberates on the situation until
she hears the creditor make a racial slur regarding William and his wife
Savanna. Because this particular case of brutality is compounded by racial
prejudice, Adeline cannot resist the inclination to assist the family,
despite the fact that alleviating their debt will deprive her beloved
Glenmurray of perhaps his last pleasure. Students generally agree that
the significance of this particular episode lies in Opie's demonstration
to her readers that her heroine does not initially recognize racial difference
until it is drawn to her attention.
After this episode the grateful Savanna and her son "Tawny Boy" become
devoted companions and servants to Adeline, enduring poverty alongside
her. The embodiment of perfect loyalty, Savanna stays by Adeline's side
for the rest of Adeline's life, nursing her through illness, helping
her eke out a meager living, and going so far as to protect Adeline when
she makes an unfortunate marriage to the deceitful Charles Berrendale.
In the final lines of the novel the dying Adeline rests her head not
on her mother's, but on Savanna's bosom. The
subtitle of Adeline Mowbray, "The Mother and Daughter," clearly
indicates the emphasis Opie wished to place on Adeline's troubled relationship
with her mother Editha. After raising Adeline to subscribe to a system
of modern philosophical convictions that disdains the institution of
marriage, Editha values her status in society too highly to support Adeline
when Adeline acts on those convictions and chooses not to marry her lover
Glenmurray. In addition, Editha further alienates Adeline by repeatedly
exhibiting a selfish preference for her dissolute husband over her own
daughter. In the final analysis, it is highly significant that it is
the nurturing Savanna who provides Adeline with the care and protection
of a true mother.
Students might be asked why Opie may have chosen to depict an African
character in a period in which so few such characters appear in the British
novel. As a woman and as an escaped slave who is sold back into slavery
when she returns to Jamaica, Savanna represents perhaps the most extreme
example of the dispossessed in contemporary British culture. Her status
as an outcast and as the survivor of literal enslavement make her an
example with which the reader is asked to compare Adeline's own situation
as a woman and a social outcast. Here critical essays on the novel can
be very helpful. Carol Howard, for example, argues that Adeline Mowbray "establishes
an idealized and nostalgic relationship of what might best be called fealty" between
Adeline and Savanna, providing a "melioristic, rather than revolutionary,
solution both to the 'problem' of slavery and the problems of marriage." Going
one step farther, Roxanne Eberle suggests that "the escaped black
slave can serve as an empowering model for the psychologically shackled
white British woman" because she has "reclaimed herself from
an economic and legal system which had considered her 'chattel.'" In
Eberle's view Opie offers the resistance of the African woman in England
as inspiration to the women of Britain.
Howard's and Eberle's analyses of Adeline Mowbray can initiate
a valuable discussion concerning whether or not the novel should be read
as a melioristic approach to the "'problem' of slavery and the problems
of marriage" or as a more radical attempt to encourage women readers
to recognize parallels between their status and that of African slaves.
Of course opinions will be varied, but most undergraduates agree that
it is significant that, at the very least, Opie asks her readers to consider
Savanna's humanity and her rights as a human being, just as she asks
her readers to consider Adeline's rights as a British woman. Would it
be premature to assume that Opie's goal may have been to address such
prejudice as a first step towards converting her readers' attitudes towards
the treatment of both Africans and women in contemporary society? The
question is of course debatable, but from this particular perspective Adeline
Mowbray may be interpreted as a more revolutionary and more profoundly
provocative text than it has been to date; indeed, many critics have
traditionally and reductively consigned it to the category of anti-Jacobin
literature due to its complex exploration of the limitations of Godwin's
and Wollstonecraft's philosophies. By attending to its handling of the
issues of women's position and especially of the black woman's plight,
we can resituate this novel as importantly reformist.
The Creole Stereotype in the Hands of Reformists
Eighteenth-century literary treatments of the West Indian Creole tend
to offer more insight into contemporary attitudes towards slavery and
abolition than representations of African slaves themselves. In the eighteenth
century the term "Creole" was applied broadly to whites who
had settled in the West Indies from a variety of European countries,
including England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Despite the fact
that British consumers constantly demanded West Indian exports in ever-increasing
quantities, depictions of Creoles in the British novel often indicate
a distinct discomfort with perceived differences in personality and manners
between the British at home and those who lived abroad. In many cases
an uneasiness about the social position of Creoles is overshadowed by
a deeper anxiety concerning miscegenation.
Richard Cumberland's play The West Indian (1771) contains
one of the most influential portraits of a Creole in the late eighteenth
century, although it is an unusually benign one. The play provides a
good starting-point for a discussion of the stereotype, and although
Cumberland's work has not been republished in an affordable classroom
edition, facsimiles of early editions are available on ECCO and in a
6-volume Garland edition edited by Roberta Borkat. In The West Indian, Cumberland's
good-hearted hero "Belcour" arrives in London with a host
of slaves carrying his many trunks of belongings. An English friend characterizes
Belcour as the product of "an education not of the strictest kind," and
allows that "strong animal spirits, are apt sometimes to betray
him into youthful irregularities," but he also attests to Belcour's
unusual candour and his "uncommon benevolence." Despite
his good heart, however, Belcour immediately incites a riot when he arrives
in London and treats the boatmen on the docks as if they were his slaves.
It is not surprising that Belcour's New World upbringing has not prepared
him for life in England, and his experiences there quickly reveal him
to be far too naïve for sophisticated Londoners. Belcour himself
is quick to blame the "irregularities" of his character on
the region of his birth (I, 40; 77). He explains his sudden obsession
with the beautiful Louisa Dudley, for example, by stating that "if
this is folly in me, you must rail at Nature: you must chide the sun,
that was vertical at my birth, and would not wink upon my nakedness,
but swaddled me in the broadest, hottest glare of his meridian beams" (I,
33). Despite a precipitous nature, Belcour's "heart beaming with
benevolence" and "animated nature, fallible indeed, but not
incorrigible" (I, 77) ultimately win him Louisa's love, as well
as the affection of the other English characters.
Reformist fictions of the 1790s include more complex and more provocative
depictions of the Creole stereotype. One of the best examples can be
found in Charlotte Smith's "The Story of Henrietta," in the
second volume of The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer (1800),
recently republished in volume XI of Pickering and Chatto's The Works
of Charlotte Smith. Smith takes her reader into the heart of plantation
life in Jamaica and into the midst of an uprising of "maroons," a
term derived from the French marron, meaning "feral," and
applied to bands of fugitives from slavery and their descendants in the
West Indies. Smith places her beleaguered heroine Henrietta Maynard in
a highly Gothic setting, albeit one adapted to contemporary Jamaica,
when Henrietta is faced with "a father possessing unlimited power,
and surrounded by slaves; in a remote house, of an island, many parts
of which are liable to the attacks of savages driven to desperation,
and thirsting for the blood of any who resembled even in colour their
hereditary oppressors." Henrietta's
father embodies the worst possible stereotype of the cruel Jamaican landowner.
Interestingly, Smith does not shrink from describing Henrietta's shock
at discovering that several of the mulatto servants in her father's household
are his own daughters and thus her half-sisters. When her father attempts
to force Henrietta to marry a man he has chosen for her, her position
is compared to that of her father's slaves when one of the slaves tells
her that "master give him you, Miss, and all this great rich estates,
and pens and all" (II, 63). As Opie would do a few years later in Adeline
Mowbray, here Smith makes the parallel between the subjection of
women and that of West Indian slaves perfectly clear.
One of the most extensive treatments of turn-of-the-century life in
the West Indies can be found in John Thelwall's little-known novel The
Daughter of Adoption, published in 1801 under the pseudonym of "John
Beaufort." Although Thelwall's novel is long out of print and is
currently available only on microfiche in Sheffield Hallam University's
Corvey Project, the novel includes unusually complex treatments of race
and slavery and thus has a great deal to offer in courses addressing
these topics. Like Mackenzie's Slavery, this novel well repays
the trouble of providing students with a few photocopied excerpts. In
the novel the young hero, Henry Montfort, travels to his father's estate
in St Domingo, where he finds that Creoles exhibit the worst kinds of
social behaviors that he encountered at home in England. He is horrified
by the Creoles' treatment of their slaves, and particularly by their
nonchalance about disciplining the slaves with brutal forms of corporal
punishment. When he raises questions about the issue, Henry is called
an ami des noirs, a name alluding to a contemporary abolitionist
society in France. "Where is the elysian scene that vice and misery
will not pervade," Henry asks with great passion, while enjoying
a magnificent West Indian landscape, "when impious man, trampling
the sacred rights of nature in the dust, erects the arbitrary distinctions
of races and of colours; and makes the vulgar accidents of climate—the
tints and traits of feature imparted by a too fervid sun, the shallow
pretexts for trafficking in human gore, and bending the necks of a large
proportion of the human race under the iron yoke of slavery?" Though
expressed in florid language, Henry's statement is a remarkably early
demonstration of the arbitrariness and insignificance of skin color in
relation to human worth.
Despite his clear abolitionist agenda, Thelwall's treatment of race
in The Daughter of Adoption is complicated in ways that can
be troubling to students today. The novel's villain, for example, is
Lucius Moroon, a wealthy planter whose very name embodies racial tensions
of the West Indies; the bloody Maroon War of 1795-1796 would have been
a recent memory for Thelwall's readers in 1801. Moroon's dissipated character
is blamed on the fact that he was raised by mulattoes. Here contemporary
anxiety about the potential threat of miscegenation is brought to the
fore, as Thelwall characterizes mulattoes as "a set of people in
whose composition vices the most atrocious, and virtues the most rare
and disinterested, are frequently so confused and blended, that it is
sometimes equally difficult to condemn with sufficient abhorrence, or
applaud them with sufficient ardour" (II, 143).
When Thelwall introduces the Creole heroine Seraphina, he is careful
to describe her in a way that makes her racial heritage unclear: her
eyes are "too dark for hazel," her brown hair is "glossed
with a tint of orient," and the shade of her skin is notably neglected
(I, 320). Described as an unusually intelligent and free-thinking young
woman, Seraphina becomes the most vocal mouthpiece for the novel's progressive
ideals. It may be that Seraphina's status as a Creole made Thelwall more
comfortable in allowing her relationship with Henry to become a sexual
one virtually from the start. On their voyage to England immediately
after the insurrection, Seraphina becomes pregnant, but the couple does
not marry for fear that Henry's father will disinherit him. Here Thelwall
recasts the reformist heroines of such bold feminists as Mary Wollstonecraft
and Mary Hays; Seraphina lives without shame because she considers herself
married to Henry in her heart. Not surprisingly, however, once she arrives
in England Seraphina's modern ideas on love and marriage serve only to
confirm suspicions about West Indian morals. In references made to her
by English characters the term "Creole" is used with a sharp
Although The Daughter of Adoption promotes the radical reformist
idea that marriage is merely a ceremony and has no bearing on the essential
purity of the heart, Henry and Seraphina do marry at the novel's conclusion.
The actual ceremony does not take place, however, until Seraphina is
revealed to be the natural child of Henry's father Percival Montfort,
as is, surprisingly enough, Lucius Moroon. After a few chapters in which
the reader is left to worry that incest has been committed, Henry is
conveniently proven to be Montfort's adopted son. Thus on the final pages
of the novel Thelwall diffuses any tension stemming from the uncertainty
of Seraphina's background by revealing her to be a purely white English
girl after all. Michael Scrivener has observed that despite the novel's
abolitionist agenda, its conclusion "only mildly disrupts the racist
categories, because the utopian community formed around Seraphina and
Henry in north Yorkshire is all-white and socially homogenous." It
is likely that students will agree that establishing Seraphina's racial
status as purely white at the end of the novel undercuts the force of
the novel's social criticism, and some may assume that Thelwall felt
the necessity of capitulating to the demands of contemporary literary
convention in order to please his readers. Nevertheless, students should
also be asked to consider the import of the fact that despite the novel's
ending, Thelwall has required his reader to rethink a variety of common
assumptions about race and racial stereotypes throughout the greater
part of his narrative.
To conclude a unit on the Creole stereotype, teachers might consider
texts that seem to advocate less radical and even melioristic responses
of slavery as contrasts to such overtly anti-slavery texts as "The
Story of Henrietta" and The Daughter of Adoption. Maria
Edgeworth's short story, "The Grateful Negro," provides a perfect
example of a melioristic treatment of slavery that will provoke a wide
range of strong student opinions. Included in her Popular Tales of
1804, "The Grateful Negro" is available in volume XII of Pickering
and Chatto's The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth and
in the Mellor-Matlak anthology. In this tale Edgeworth introduces a slave-owner
in Jamaica, Mr. Jefferies, who epitomizes the worst of the cruel slave-owner
stereotype, in contrast to his neighbor, Mr. Edwards, a planter who "wished
that there was no such thing as slavery in the world," but who was
also "convinced, by the arguments of those who have the best means
of obtaining information, that the sudden emancipation of the negroes
would rather encrease than diminish their miseries." Mr.
Edwards "adopted those plans, for the amelioration of the state
of the slaves, which appeared to him the most likely to succeed without
producing any violent agitation, or revolution" (49-50). Edwards
assigns his slaves reasonable daily tasks and allows them free time to
pursue their own interests. If they choose to perform additional work
for their master, they are paid wages. When Jefferies is forced by his
debts to sell his slave Caesar, and thus separate Caesar from his beloved
Clara, Edwards steps in and buys both Caesar and Clara so that the two
may stay together and marry. This vision of ameliorated slavery is complicated,
however, by the story's focus on a violent slave rebellion, instances
of which were often cited by anti-abolitionists as justification for
keeping slaves in submission. Caesar's friend, Hector, is driven to a
frenzy by the local obeah woman Esther into plotting a bloody attack
on all of the whites in the area. When Caesar is unable to sway Hector
or Esther in their plans for the insurrection, he gives up his own life
to warn Edwards and thus saves his master from the attack.
Modern critics insist that "The Grateful Negro" cannot be
classed alongside abolitionist texts and that it must be more accurately
understood as an exploration of ethical aspects of labor and of abuses
that can lead to violent rebellion. It
is true that the story builds upon contemporary ameliorative arguments
for the reform of slavery and for the humane treatment of slaves, although
it should be acknowledged that such arguments were usually made by those
who wished to see slavery abolished eventually. As an ameliorative treatment
of slavery, then, must "The Grateful Negro" be read as a conservative
work? Students should be asked whether Edgeworth intends her reader to
see the insurrection as proof that slaves must be carefully, if more
humanely, subdued, or whether she suggests that an institution that allows
such abuses and thus fosters such violence is intrinsically wrong. If
not a radical or revolutionary text, many students argue that Edgeworth's
tale departs from conservative treatments of slavery in focusing, like
Opie's Adeline Mowbray, on qualities of trust, loyalty and vulnerability
in the individual, that at the very least demand that people of conscience
recognize the African as a human being.
An alternative example of an ameliorative treatment of slavery can be
found in Thomas Holcroft's Memoirs of Bryan Perdue, which is
available in a Garland facsimile edition and in volume IV of Pickering
and Chatto's recent The Novels and Selected Plays of Thomas Holcroft. In Bryan
Perdue Holcroft attacks the institution of capital punishment as
his confessional narrator follows a description of his early fall into
vice and his narrow escape from execution for forgery with an account
of how he was able to reform himself and devote himself to the benefit
of others. In Bryan's case, he focuses his newfound devotion to benevolent
acts on West Indian slaves when he leaves England to accept a position
as estate-manager of a sugar plantation in Jamaica, an episode that closes
the novel in the final nine chapters of its third volume. When he arrives
in Jamaica, Bryan quarrels with the white superintendent of the black
gangs on the plantation about how the slaves should be managed, insisting
that the blacks should be humanized by being taught to reform their actions,
a plan that the overseer dismisses as unrealistic. Despite the overseer's
doubts Bryan persists in his plan of reform in several stages. First,
he wins the slaves' trust and affection by praising their good work and
by reasoning with them on behaviors he wishes them to alter. Bryan institutes
a reward system for excellence, finds ways to improve the comforts of
the slaves' living quarters, and encourages their successes in the cultivation
of private gardens set aside as their own property. Unfortunately, Holcroft's
attempt to illustrate how one reformed criminal might later prove to
benefit the lives of scores of his fellow men and women is undercut for
modern readers by the fact that the novel does not take a stand against
the institution of slavery, but merely illustrates how the sufferings
of slaves might be alleviated.
Both Edgeworth's and Holcroft's treatments of slavery in these works
draw heavily an ameliorative tradition established by Sarah Scott in The
History of Sir George Ellison (1766) and by Henry Mackenzie in Julia
de Roubigné (1777), and teachers interested in spending more
time on ameliorative treatments might consider including readings of
these earlier eighteenth-century texts before moving to Edgeworth or
Holcroft. Regardless of the reading material, however, when assessing
the political nature of ameliorative texts in the classroom, it is important
for instructor and students alike to acknowledge the degree to which
our own perspectives and values affect our readings of such texts. More
open condemnations of slavery would certainly be far more appealing to
today's readers. Nevertheless, it is important to ask students to consider
the degree to which the complete abolition of slavery may not have seemed
realistic or feasible even to committed liberals in the late eighteenth
century. I have asked my students to compare this historical moment to
the difficulty of stemming the tide of economic forces in the world today
when a particular commodity such as tobacco is acknowledged as harmful
to consumers, or when the production and consumption of oil, for example,
is recognized as harmful to the earth, or as a cause of political friction
and war between world powers. Such analogies can lead to animated discussions
regarding the extent to which both politics and economics bear on cultural
values and mores in every age.
Changing Stereotypes of the Jew in Britain
In addition to the racial stereotypes of Africans and Creoles, highly
stereotypical portraits of English Jews also appear occasionally in the
fiction of the late eighteenth century, commonly drawing on the familiar
role of Shakespeare's Shylock as the shrewd but heartless money-lender.
Sheila Spector has enumerated three additional stereotypes by which Jews
are depicted in British literature, including those based upon Faust;
the Wandering Jew, Ahasuerus; and Jessica, the assimilated convert to
a racial group, Jews in England were always difficult for the English
to categorize easily. Judith Page has explained this difficulty by pointing
out that they "were mostly poor but they were also rich, they were
foreign-looking but they also simulated British gentility, they spoke
English but not always the King's English."
Perhaps the most fully drawn and the least stereotypical depiction of
an English Jew in a novel of the 1790s is to be found in George Walker's Theodore
Cyphon; or The Benevolent Jew (1796), another novel available on
ECCO, and another that richly rewards the trouble of photocopying for
students, if only in excerpted selections. At
the novel's opening the Jewish Shechem Bensadi is rescued by the fugitive
hero Theodore while being harassed by a group of thugs in a dark winter
snowstorm. Bensadi offers Theodore a room, board, and a job in his counting
house, without asking questions about Theodore's past. The young man
is shocked by Bensadi's generosity and makes the novel's stance on contemporary
Christianity quite clear when he tells Bensadi that "I have felt
in a country where ostentatious charity gilds the insides of our churches,
and erects magnificent buildings, that from the forlorn wanderer, even
justice is withheld." "Where
is the Christian who would have done this?" the narrator asks of
Bensadi's generosity (I, 18).
Although Walker does draw on several contemporary stereotypes concerning
the Jews, he mitigates them as his story unfolds. Bensadi is depicted
as being extremely penurious and concerned with his investments, for
example. Nevertheless, Theodore is astonished to learn from a servant
that Bensadi lends freely and without interest to save a poor family
from ruin, while simultaneously charging a high rate of interest to a
needy peer. In a rare scene in the fiction of the period, Theodore accompanies
Bensadi to a meeting of the local Jewish community and witnesses how
Bensadi functions as a private bank, supplying the wants of his friends
and neighbors and accepting their repayments whenever they are able to
pay him back.
The reviewers of Theodore Cyphon immediately identified Shechem
Bensadi as a reinterpretation of Sheva, a character made popular on the
London stage two years earlier in Richard Cumberland's 1794 comedy The
Jew, which would be a useful text to assign before turning to Walker's
novel. Initially Cumberland presents Sheva as the embodiment of the avaricious
stereotype of the Jewish money-lender. But Sheva lends literally all
of his money to help others and assumes the life of a pauper, explaining
that while he does love his money, he loves his fellow man more. Critics
are divided on the significance of Cumberland 's play as a social document.
For Judith Page, Sheva is merely a reversal of the usurer stereotype,
and Cumberland's ostensible good will in presenting a benevolent portrait
of the Jew is undercut by his own admission in his later Memoirs that
he hoped this original approach to the stereotype would make his play
a success. For
Michael Ragussis, however, The Jew plays a far more significant
role in British literary history. Ragussis argues that Cumberland subverts
the stereotype by imagining the transformation of financial debt into
moral debt. For him the play formulates "the basic paradigm for
representing the way in which national populations divided by ethnic
or religious conflict could be reimagined as whole and integrated beyond
success of Walker's project in Theodore Cyphon is likewise
open to discussion, making it and Cumberland's play productive texts
for classroom debate, particularly considering the fact that Walker has
been universally classed as an anti-Jacobin due to his satiric attack
on Godwin and Wollstonecraft in his 1799 The Vagabond.
Maria Edgeworth's Change of Heart
In courses in which I have chosen literary texts that unsettle contemporary
assumptions about gender and race in the late eighteenth century, I have
found Maria Edgeworth's Belinda (1801) to be a perfect capstone
text. Available in an Oxford paperback edited by Kathryn J. Kirkpatrick
and as volume II in Pickering's The Novels and Selected Works of
Maria Edgeworth, Belinda offers a wealth of opportunities
for discussing issues pertaining to race and racial difference. One of
the most fully realized portraits of a Creole in the period, for example,
can be found in Belinda's suitor, the Jamaican planter Augustus Vincent.
The cheerful Vincent appears to have been inspired by Cumberland's Belcour,
although Edgeworth ultimately emphasizes the threatening potential of
his vices rather than softening them as Cumberland does. Vincent's typical "sunburnt
complexion" is aligned to a personality that is "full of fire
and animation." Despite
his charismatic personality, however, Edgeworth explains that Vincent's "social
prejudices were such as, in some degree, to supply the place of the power
and habit of reasoning, in which he was totally deficient" (170-71).
Worst of all, Vincent expressed a "disdain of reason as a moral
guide," and "thought, acted, and suffered as a man of feeling" (326-27).
As in Belcour's case, Vincent's weak reasoning abilities and his high
spirits get him into trouble in England. The combination of his naïveté and
his love of pleasure makes him easy prey to high society gamblers who
cheat him of his fortune. Ultimately, his high passions make him unsuitable
for life among the English and for a marriage to such an ideal of English
womanhood as Edgeworth's heroine. Throughout the novel Belinda's mentor
Lady Delacour takes great pains to maneuver Belinda away from Vincent
and towards her choice of a more appropriate suitor. Susan Greenfield
argues that Lady Delacour "represents a form of national and racial
border patrol" in "securing Belinda's sexual borders" from
Mr. Vincent, and orchestrating her eventual marriage to the thoroughly
English Clarence Hervey. For
Greenfield, Lady Delacour's fixation on racial distinctions "may
reflect concerns West Indian colonialism generated, as British settlement
complicated efforts to separate English citizens from English settlers
and their Creole descendants and as the West Indies became potential
economic and political liabilities at the end of the eighteenth century." Students
are intrigued to learn that Edgeworth responded to criticism by dramatically
altering Belinda's expressions of interest in Mr. Vincent in revisions
she made to the novel for a new edition in 1810 and by removing her promise
to marry him. Indeed,
a classroom exercise in which students are asked to assess the differences
between Belcour and Vincent and to assess Edgeworth's revisions in 1810
will offer them great insight into changing attitudes towards English
Creoles and an increased public awareness of the terrible realities of
slavery over a span of four decades.
Interestingly, Belinda includes an episode in which Belinda
and Mr. Vincent read together Day's and Bicknell's melodramatic poem "The
Dying Negro," in which a former slave planning to marry a white
woman in England takes his own life when he is captured to avoid being
returned to America. Edgeworth's use of the poem in this context raises
important questions about Vincent's moral character as a West Indian
planter. While he praises the poem, his imperfect understanding of it
suggests his inability to acknowledge fully the evils of slavery. Greenfield
explains that Vincent identifies with the poem from a romantic point
of view and not a political one, writing that he "apparently sympathizes
with the African speaker of the poem, who, like him, discovers the supposed
superiority of European female beauty." Vincent's
blindness to the exploitation of slavery is also evident in his relationship
with Juba, the loyal slave he brings with him to England. While Vincent
treats Juba with kindness, it is telling, and troubling, that Juba bears
the same name as Vincent's loyal dog.
Juba's role in Belinda adds another layer to unravel in analyzing
the treatment of African slaves in the novel of the period. Edgeworth
includes an episode in which Juba courts and marries an English girl
named Lucy, the daughter of an elderly porter and his wife, who encourage
the match despite Lucy's initial fear of Juba's black face. Felicity
Nussbaum has pointed out that miscegenation did not appear to trouble
the British during this period if the darker partner's social rank was
equal to or greater than that of the white partner. To
Lucy's parents, Juba's color is irrelevant; they recognize him as a good
potential son-in-law because of his good nature and his industriousness
in caning chairs and weaving baskets. Typical of the stereotype of fidelity,
Juba's most overwhelming emotion on his wedding day is his gratitude
to his master. Rather than singing to his new bride, Juba composes a
wedding song in honor of Mr. Vincent, "which he sang to his banjore
with the most touching expression of joyful gratitude" (II, 200).
Again, students are intrigued to learn that Edgeworth was persuaded by
her father and others to rewrite this episode when she prepared her new
edition of Belinda in 1810. In her revision Edgeworth replaces
Juba as Lucy's groom with an Englishman by the name of James Jackson,
although Juba's grateful "banjore" song remains a part of the
wedding festivities. This
alteration may support Nussbaum's argument that increasing numbers of
freed slaves in England in the early years of the nineteenth century
led to more distinctly defined racial categories, as well as to increased
anxieties about miscegenation.
Belinda also raises interesting questions concerning the depiction
of Jews in England in the early years of the nineteenth century. Edgeworth's
depiction of a parsimonious money-lender here, as well as in her 1812
novel The Absentee, resulted in the author's change of heart
in the years to follow. In August 1815 Edgeworth received an unsettling
letter from a Jewish American reader by the name of Rachel Mordecai,
who praised Edgeworth's novels and children's stories but asked how an
author "who on all other subjects shows such justice and liberality,
should on one alone appear biased by prejudice." "Can
it be believed," Mordecai asks, "that this race of men are
by nature mean, avaricious, and unprincipled?" A
chagrined Edgeworth was thus inspired to respond to this criticism by
publishing a sympathetic treatment of the Jews in England in her 1817
Harrington chronicles the psychological history of a confessional
narrator who develops a psychotic antipathy towards Jews as a result
of outlandish tales told to him by a racist and uneducated nurse. As
Harrington grows up, his interactions with actual Jewish figures of the
day allow him to challenge and eventually overcome his prejudices. Ultimately
Harrington becomes friends with the affluent and brilliantly educated
Mr. Montenero, a Spanish Jew who has escaped persecution by the Inquisition
by fleeing to America, and later to England. Predictably, Harrington
falls in love with Montenero's beautiful daughter Berenice. In one particularly
climactic episode, Harrington and the Monteneros attempt to protect themselves
from a violent mob when the Gordon Riots break out in 1780. During these
riots mobs attack and destroy the homes of non-Protestants and foreigners,
crying "No Jews, no wooden shoes!" The Monteneros and their
home are saved largely through the efforts of a well-meaning orange-woman
who runs for help. This woman, who calls herself the widow Levy, voices
perhaps the most open-minded attitude towards Jews in the novel. Loyal
to the Monteneros for their generous patronage in the past, she calls
Montenero "the best Christian any way ever I happened on," and
proclaims that "we were all brothers and sisters once.in the time
of Adam, sure, and we should help one another in all times."
Throughout Harrington Edgeworth alludes liberally to such
earlier literary treatments of the Jew as The Merchant of Venice, Cumberland's The
Jew, and Gotthold Lessing's Nathan the Wise (1779), an
influential play in which the Jewish merchant Nathan demonstrates to
the other characters the futility of racial and religious prejudice.
Her most overt reference to Lessing's play can be found in the novel's
conclusion when Montenero reveals that Berenice is not a Jew after all.
Montenero explains that his late wife was Christian, and that he had
allowed Berenice to be raised as a Christian as well. The two had kept
this fact a secret in order to test potential suitors for anti-Semitic
tendencies. Berenice insists that she will not marry a man who displays
any prejudice towards her father's religion, nor will she accept a lover
so unfaithful as to be willing to abandon Christianity in order to marry
her. Harrington, of course, manages to meet her criteria.
Most students today are highly disappointed by Edgeworth's conclusion,
but such disappointment can lead to a very productive class discussion.
As in Thelwall's revelation of Seraphina's true English heritage, the
tensions inherent to an interracial marriage are dissolved at the novel's
close, and so is the opportunity for a final, grand demonstration of
the groundlessness of racial prejudice. Rachel Mordecai also expressed
disappointment that Berenice was not allowed to stand as a constructive
example of a young Jewish woman. Edgeworth's
reason for ending the novel as she does may have stemmed from an attempt
to align Harrington with a similar revelation at the conclusion
of Lessing's Nathan the Wise that makes a bold statement regarding
the arbitrariness of racial and religious distinctions amongst not only
Jews and Christians, but Muslims as well. The conclusion of Harrington, however,
is admittedly far less successful. In making Berenice a Christian, Edgeworth
dramatically weakens her attempt to illustrate that human beings of all
races embody the same virtues. Under English tradition, children of mixed
Protestant and Catholic marriages were raised with the daughters following
the mother's religion and sons following the father's. Thus, the daughters
of a Jewish Berenice would themselves presumably be Jewish by English
tradition, repeating their mother's social status. Additionally, under
Jewish law, any child of a Jewish mother would be by birth a Jew, raising
problems for Harrington's male heirs as well despite the counter-system
of English primogeniture. A product of her times, Edgeworth can envision
an interracial marriage, but she cannot quite make the leap to realize
it in 1817.
Like The Daughter of Adoption, Harrington disappoints in the
final analysis. Nevertheless, both Thelwall and Edgeworth have at the
very least taken a step forward in asking their readers to question common
prejudices about racial difference. Moreover, despite its ending, Harrington is
perhaps the first British novel wholly intended to work towards dispelling
racism. Berenice's final words make Edgeworth's intentions clear. When
Mr. Montenero insists that the family's enemies be forgiven, Harrington's
father praises his new in-law, echoing words spoken of such characters
as Cumberland's Sheva and Walker's Bensadi in saying that "none
but a good Christian could do this!" Berenice then answers him with
the simple question "and why not a good Jew?" (III, 331).
The texts included in this course syllabus on race in early Romantic-period
reformist literature clearly demonstrate a few early hints of an awareness
that the novel might be used to foster more humane relations between
peoples of varying heritages and backgrounds. Some students may insist,
rightly, that few of these novels display an author's complete freedom
from long-held cultural stereotypes. Indeed, as Judith Page has written
of sympathetic texts on Judaism in the period, even the most progressive
of these works "cannot quite contain [their] own representations." Page
is right to state that "revolutions in politics and culture do not
necessarily develop evenly." Nevertheless,
the anxieties and shifting attitudes towards race and the disenfranchised
that students will readily recognize in these novels give evidence of
an awakening social conscience and of the roots of social change that
would continue to develop in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
In my experience, the troubled, conflicted, and even disturbing treatments
of race in the reformist fiction of the revolutionary decade stimulate
dynamic classroom discussions of race during this period and afterwards—discussions
with a clear relevance to the ways in which Western culture continues
to perceive and respond to race and racial difference today.
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About Slavery, 1660-1810. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
Beaufort, John, L.L.D. [John Thelwall]. The Daughter
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Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. Ed. Catherine Gallagher.
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Cumberland, Richard. The Plays of Richard Cumberland. Ed.
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Earle, William. Obi; or, the History of Three-fingered
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Culture, 1797-1807." Studies in Romanticism 32:1 (Spring
---. "Slavery and Romantic Writing." A Companion
to Romanticism. Ed. Duncan Wu. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. 460-69.
Rosenberg, Edgar. From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes
in English Fiction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960.
Rzepka, Charles, ed. Obi: A Romantic Circles Praxis
Volume (August 2002). http://romantic.arhu.umd.edu/praxis/obi.
Scrivener, Michael. Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall
and Jacobin Writing. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University
Shyllon, Folarin. Black People in Britain 1555-1833. London:
Published for the Institute of Race Relations, London, by Oxford University
Shyllon, F. O. Black Slaves in Britain. London and
New York: Published for the Institute of Race Relations, London, by Oxford
University Press, 1974.
Spector, Sheila A., ed. The Jews and British Romanticism:
Politics, Religion, Culture. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave
---. "The Other's Other: The Function of the
Jew in Maria Edgeworth's Fiction." European Romantic Review 10.3
(Summer 1999): 307-40.
Sussman, Charlotte. Consuming Anxieties: Consumer Protest,
Gender, and British Slavery, 1713-1833. Stanford: Stanford University
Sypher, Wylie. "The African Prince in London." Journal
of the History of Ideas 2.2 (April 1941):237-47.
---. Guinea's Captive Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature
of the XVIIIth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina
Press, 1942; Repr. New York: Octagon Books, 1969.
---. "The West-Indian as a 'Character' in the Eighteenth
Century." Studies in Philology 36 (1939): 503-20.
Ty, Eleanor. Empowering the Feminine: The Narratives
of Mary Robinson, Jane West, and Amelia Opie, 1796-1812. Toronto:
University of Toronto Press, 1998.
Wheeler, Roxann. The Complexion of Race: Categories of
Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture. Philadelphia:
University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.
Wolfe, Stephen F. "'Are Such Things Done on Albion's
Shore?' The Discourses of Slavery in the Rhetoric of English Jacobin
Writers." Nordlit 6 (1999):161-73.
---. "'The Bloody Writing is for ever torn': Inscribing
Slavery in the 1790s." Revolutions and Watersheds: Transatlantic
Dialogues 1775-1815. Ed. W. M. Verhoeven and Beth Dolan Kautz.
Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1999. 169-90.
Wright, Eamon. British Women Writers and Race, 1788-1818:
Narrations of Modernity. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan,
Carl B. Cone, The English Jacobins, iii. For a comprehensive definition
of the origin and implications of the term "Jacobin" and "Jacobinism" in
the 1790s, see H. T. Dickinson, British Radicalism and the French Revolution, 1-24;
and Michael Scrivener, Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall and Jacobin
 Cone, The
English Jacobins, v.
Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Catherine Gallagher (Boston and New York:
Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000), 3.
the appended syllabus for other examples of abolitionist poetry that can
be used effectively in the undergraduate classroom. Teachers may also find
it helpful to consult James Basker's Amazing Grace: An Anthology of
Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810.
John Bugg's essay on Equiano's book tour.
provides a helpful introduction to this controversy in the Introduction
to his edition of the Interesting Narrative, 29-30.
Charles Rzepka's Romantic Circles Praxis Series volume on Obi.
Rzepka, Introduction to Obi, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, para.
thorough treatments of the ways in which the rhetoric of sensibility was
used across a wide spectrum of genres in the abolitionist debate in late
eighteenth-century Britain, see Markman Ellis, The Politics of Sensibility and
Brycchan Carey, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility.
a catalogue of such accounts see Wylie Sypher, "The African Prince
in London" and Folarin Shyllon, Black People in Britain, 45-66.
accounts of this incident see The Gentleman's Magazine XIX (1749):89-90,
and The London Magazine XVIII (1749): 94; cited by Folarin Shyllon, Black
People in Britain, 46. See also Nussbaum, The Limits of the Human, 189-90.
who are interested in providing students with excerpts from Slavery might
do well to choose to work with merely the first four sections of the novel's
first volume, which include three letters between Adolphus's father and
his English guardian, and his guardian's journal of Adolphus's reactions
while traveling to England via Jamaica (vol. I, 1-72). In addition, Adolphus's
disapproval of English social conventions can be found in Letter 14, "To
Miss St Leger from Adolphus," vol. I, 143-53. Adolphus attends a performance
of Oroonoko in vol. I, 190.
analysis of this episode, see Anne Mellor "Am I Not a Woman, and a
Sister?," 322-23, and Mothers of the Nation, 105; and Susan
Greenfield, Mothering Daughters, 134-44.
Story of the Pineapple': Sentimental Abolitionism and Moral Motherhood
in Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray," 356.
Opie's Adeline Mowbray: Diverting the Libertine Gaze," 142.
edition, ed. Borkat, I, 40.
Letters of a Solitary Wanderer, 3 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1800;
Repr. Poole, England and New York: Woodstock Books, 1995), II, 70.
Daughter of Adoption; A Tale of Modern Times. 4 vols. (London: R.
Phillips, 1801), I, 268-69.
teachers interested in excerpting from Thelwall's novel, the passages in
which Henry travels to St Domingo and experiences Creole life are found
in vol. I, book iii, chapters 1-3, with Seraphina's history comprising
chapter 3. Henry's rescue of Seraphina during a slave insurrection is described
in detail in vol. II, book iv, chapter 1.
Grateful Negro," Popular Tales, Pickering edition, XII,
Introductory Note, "The Grateful Negro," Pickering text, XII,
x; and essays by Moira Ferguson, Frances R. Botkin, and George E. Boulukos.
 "The Other's
Other," 310. Spector's categories build on the work of Edgar
Rosenberg in From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes in English
Fiction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960), 206-33. See
also Endelman, The Jews of Britain, 41-77.
Sympathies: Jews and Judaism in British Romantic Literature and Culture, 3-4.
wishing to excerpt selections from Theodore Cyphon may find adequate
materials for reading and classroom discussion in Walker's Preface, and
in vol. I, chapters 1-6.
Cyphon: or, The Benevolent Jew. 3 vols. (London: B. Crosby, 1796)
and Other 'Outlandish Englishmen,'" 791-92.
 Belinda, Pickering
edition, II, 170.
and at Home," 222; see also Kathryn Kirkpatrick, "'Gentlemen
Have Horrors Upon This Subject,'" 331-48; and Alison Harvey, "West
Indian Obeah and English 'Obee,'" 1-29.
and at Home," 216.
Marilyn Butler, Maria Edgeworth, 494-95.
and at Home," 220.
Limits of the Human, 242.
Marilyn Butler, Maria Edgeworth, 494-95; Suvendrini Perera, Reaches
of Empire, 15-34; and Kathryn Kirkpatrick "'Gentlemen Have Horrors,'" 331-48.
Limits of the Human, 19.
Mordecai, Letter to Maria Edgeworth, 7 August 1815, published in Harrington, ed.
 Harrington, ed.
 Harrington, Pickering
edition, ed. Marilyn Butler and Susan Manly, III, 286.
her letter to Edgeworth dated 28 October 1817; Harrington, ed.
Sheila Spector, "The Other's Other," 332; Judith Page "Maria
Edgeworth's Harrington," 12-13, and Imperfect Sympathies, 156-58;
and Michael Ragussis, "Representation, Conversion, and Literary Form," 132-43,
and Figures of Conversion, 77-88.