Helen Thomas' study opens a new avenue for Romanticism by exploring connections with literature produced by slaves, slave owners, abolitionists and radical dissenters between 1770 and 1830. In the first major attempt to relate canonical Romantic texts to writings of the African diaspora, she investigates English literary Romanticism in the context of a transatlantic culture, and African culture in the context of eighteenth-century Britain. In so doing, she reveals an intertextual dialogue between two diverse yet equally rich cultural spheres, and their corresponding systems of thought, epistemology and expression.
Table of Contents
Introduction; 1. The English slave trade and abolitionism; 2. Radical dissent and spiritual autobiography: Joanna Southcott, John Newton and William Cowper; 3. Romanticism and abolitionism: Mary Wollstonecraft, William Blake, Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth; 4. Cross-cultural contact: John Stedman, Thomas Jefferson and the slaves; 5. The diasporic identity: language and the paradigms of liberation; 6. The early slave narratives: Jupiter Hammon, John Marrant and Ottobah Gronniosaw; 7. Phyllis Wheatley: poems and letters; 8. Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative; 9. Robert Wedderburn and mulatto discourse.