Transatlantic Spectacles of Race: The Tragic Mulatta and the Tragic Muse

Overview

The tragic mulatta was a stock figure in nineteenth-century American literature, an attractive mixed-race woman who became a casualty of the color line. The tragic muse was an equally familiar figure in Victorian British culture, an exotic and alluring Jewish actress whose profession placed her alongside the “fallen woman.”

In Transatlantic Spectacles of Race, Kimberly Manganelli argues that the tragic mulatta and tragic muse, who have heretofore been read separately, must be ...

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Transatlantic Spectacles of Race: The Tragic Mulatta and the Tragic Muse

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Overview

The tragic mulatta was a stock figure in nineteenth-century American literature, an attractive mixed-race woman who became a casualty of the color line. The tragic muse was an equally familiar figure in Victorian British culture, an exotic and alluring Jewish actress whose profession placed her alongside the “fallen woman.”

In Transatlantic Spectacles of Race, Kimberly Manganelli argues that the tragic mulatta and tragic muse, who have heretofore been read separately, must be understood as two sides of the same phenomenon. In both cases, the eroticized and racialized female body is put on public display, as a highly enticing commodity in the nineteenth-century marketplace. Tracing these figures through American, British, and French literature and culture, Manganelli constructs a host of surprising literary genealogies, from Zelica to Daniel Deronda, from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to Lady Audley’s Secret. Bringing together an impressive array of cultural texts that includes novels, melodramas, travel narratives, diaries, and illustrations, Transatlantic Spectacles of Race reveals the value of transcending literary, national, and racial boundaries.

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Editorial Reviews

Princeton University

"An engaging, rich, and provocative work that re-directs 'mixed-race'
— Daphne Brooks

Princeton University - Daphne Brooks

"An engaging, rich, and provocative work that re-directs 'mixed-race'
author of Portraits of the New Negro Woman - Cherene Sherrard-Johnson

"Manganelli's clear, engaging writing will captivate readers of nineteenth and early twentieth-century British and American literature. This book provides a powerful and lucid model for scholars and students interested in transatlantic work."
American Studies

"Transatlantic Spectacles of Race is a valuable contribution to race and gender studies. It narrates the spectacular dynamics of power at intersections of race and gender, and illuminates the 'racial taxonomies attempting to controll uncontrollable shades of color.'"
Victorian Studies

"An admirable example of the ways in which American theories of race have recently enriched what had previously been a somwehat circumscribed academic field."
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Product Details

Meet the Author

KIMBERLY SNYDER MANGANELLI is an assistant professor of English at Clemson University.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction: "I Thought That to Seem Was to Be": Spectacles of Race in the Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Imaginary 1

1 "Stamped and Molded by Pleasure": The Transnational Mulatta in Jamaica and Saint-Domingue 17

2 "Fascinating Allurements of Gold": New Orleans's "Copper-Colored Nymhs" and the Tragic Mulatta 37

3 "Oh Heavens! What Am I?": The Tragic Mulatta as Sensation Heroine 65

4 "I Wonder What Market He Means That Daughter For": The Beautiful Jewess and the Tragic Muse 92

5 "After All, Living Is but to Play a Part": The Tragic Mulatta Plays the Tragic Muse 128

Conclusion: "I Know What I Am": Race and the Triumphant "New Woman" 159

Notes 189

Index 219

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