Fatal Revolutions: Natural History, West Indian Slavery, and the Routes of American Literature

Fatal Revolutions: Natural History, West Indian Slavery, and the Routes of American Literature

by Christopher P. Iannini
     
 

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Drawing on letters, illustrations, engravings, and neglected manuscripts, Christopher Iannini connects two dramatic transformations in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world—the emergence and growth of the Caribbean plantation system and the rise of natural science. Iannini argues that these transformations were not only deeply interconnected, but that together

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Overview

Drawing on letters, illustrations, engravings, and neglected manuscripts, Christopher Iannini connects two dramatic transformations in the eighteenth-century Atlantic world—the emergence and growth of the Caribbean plantation system and the rise of natural science. Iannini argues that these transformations were not only deeply interconnected, but that together they established conditions fundamental to the development of a distinctive literary culture in the early Americas. In fact, eighteenth-century natural history as a literary genre largely took its shape from its practice in the Caribbean, an oft-studied region that was a prime source of wealth for all of Europe and the Americas.
The formal evolution of colonial prose narrative, Ianinni argues, was contingent upon the emergence of natural history writing, which itself emerged necessarily from within the context of Atlantic slavery and the production of tropical commodities. As he reestablishes the history of cultural exchange between the Caribbean and North America, Ianinni recovers the importance of the West Indies in the formation of American literary and intellectual culture as well as its place in assessing the moral implications of colonial slavery.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Any reader will enjoy the fresh perspective and the riot of tropical diversity provided by a Caribbean-centric vision of the origins of natural history.—Isis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807835562
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
03/12/2012
Series:
Published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia Series
Edition description:
1
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.40(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Extensively researched and historically grounded, Fatal Revolutions is an important addition to eighteenth-century literary and cultural studies. . . . Iannini unearths a vast archive and leads us to reconceive the spatial and linguistic boundaries of colonial and early national study.—Philip Gould, Brown University

Meet the Author

Christopher P. Iannini is assistant professor of English at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

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