American Slaves in Victorian England: Abolitionist Politics in Popular Literature and Culture

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During the 1850s, African-Americans and others active in the campaign to abolish slavery journeyed to England to present the slave experience and rouse opposition to American slavery. By focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, an anonymous sequel to that novel - Uncle Tom in England - and John Brown's Slave Life in Georgia, and the lecture tours of free blacks and ex-slaves, Fisch follows the discourse of American abolitionism as it moved across the Atlantic and was re-shaped by domestic Victorian debates about popular culture and taste, the worker versus the slave, popular education, and working-class self-improvement. Despite its popular appeal, she claims, the African-American abolitionist campaign actually reenergized English nationalism. This book will be of interest to students of African-American literature, and of nineteenth-century American and English literature.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"she has provided a fascinating insight into the British response to a brief, intense cultural phenomenon worked in the context of mid-nineteenthy-century England and America." Victorian Periodicals Reveiw
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521660266
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2000
  • Pages: 150
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.51 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Communicating "a correct knowledge of American Slavery": J. B. Estlin and the "breeder" in Frederick Douglass's Narrative 1
1 "Exhibiting Uncle Tom in some shape or other": the commercialization and reception of Uncle Tom's Cabin in England 11
2 Abolition as a "step to reform in our kingdom": Chartism, "white slaves," and a new "Uncle Tom" in England 33
3 "Repetitious accounts so piteous and so harrowing": the ideological work of American slave narratives in England 52
4 "Negrophilism" and nationalism: the spectacle of the African-American abolitionist 69
Epilogue: "How cautious and calculating": English audiences and the impostor, Reuben Nixon 91
Notes 101
Bibliography 126
Index 137
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