Slavery and the Romantic Imagination

Slavery and the Romantic Imagination

by Debbie Lee

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Overview

Slavery and the Romantic Imagination by Debbie Lee

Selected by Choice magazine as an Outstanding Academic Title

The Romantic movement had profound social implications for nineteenth-century British culture. Among the most significant, Debbie Lee contends, was the change it wrought to insular Britons' ability to distance themselves from the brutalities of chattel slavery. In the broadest sense, she asks what the relationship is between the artist and the most hideous crimes of his or her era. In dealing with the Romantic period, this question becomes more specific: what is the relationship between the nation's greatest writers and the epic violence of slavery? In answer, Slavery and the Romantic Imagination provides a fully historicized and theorized account of the intimate relationship between slavery, African exploration, "the Romantic imagination," and the literary works produced by this conjunction.

Though the topics of race, slavery, exploration, and empire have come to shape literary criticism and cultural studies over the past two decades, slavery has, surprisingly, not been widely examined in the most iconic literary texts of nineteenth-century Britain, even though emancipation efforts coincide almost exactly with the Romantic movement. This study opens up new perspectives on Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Mary Shelley, Keats, and Mary Prince by setting their works in the context of political writings, antislavery literature, medicinal tracts, travel writings, cartography, ethnographic treatises, parliamentary records, philosophical papers, and iconography.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780812218824
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Publication date: 04/28/2004
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 312
Product dimensions: 6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Debbie Lee teaches English at Washington State University. She is general editor (with Peter Kitson) of the eight-volume work Slavery, Abolition, and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period.

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