Invoking Slavery in the Eighteenth-Century British Imagination: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Invoking Slavery in the Eighteenth-Century British Imagination

1st Edition

By Srividhya Swaminathan, Adam R. Beach

Routledge

228 pages

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Paperback: 9781138249318
pub: 2016-10-19
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Description

In the eighteenth century, audiences in Great Britain understood the term ’slavery’ to refer to a range of physical and metaphysical conditions beyond the transatlantic slave trade. Literary representations of slavery encompassed tales of Barbary captivity, the ’exotic’ slaving practices of the Ottoman Empire, the political enslavement practiced by government or church, and even the harsh life of servants under a cruel master. Arguing that literary and cultural studies have focused too narrowly on slavery as a term that refers almost exclusively to the race-based chattel enslavement of sub-Saharan Africans transported to the New World, the contributors suggest that these analyses foreclose deeper discussion of other associations of the term. They suggest that the term slavery became a powerful rhetorical device for helping British audiences gain a new perspective on their own position with respect to their government and the global sphere. Far from eliding the real and important differences between slave systems operating in the Atlantic world, this collection is a starting point for understanding how slavery as a concept came to encompass many forms of unfree labor and metaphorical bondage precisely because of the power of association.

Reviews

A Baker & Taylor Academic Essentials Title in Area/Ethnic Studies: Black Studies outside the U.S.

About the Authors

Srividhya Swaminathan is Associate Professor of English at Long Island University, USA, and Adam R. Beach is Associate Professor of English at Ball State University, USA.

About the Series

British Literature in Context in the Long Eighteenth Century

British Literature in the Eighteenth Century
This series aims to promote original scholarship on the intersection of British literature and history in the long eighteenth century, from the Restoration through the first generation of the Romantic era. Both "literature" and "history" are broadly conceived. Literature might include not only canonical novels, poems, and plays but also essays, life-writing, and belles lettres of all sorts, by both major and minor authors. History might include not only traditional political and social history but also the history of the book, the history of science, the history of religion, the history of scholarship, and the history of sexuality, as well as broader questions of historiography and periodization. The series editors invite proposals for both monographs and collections taking a wide range of approaches. Contributions may be interdisciplinary but should be grounded in sound historical research. All manuscripts should be written so as to be accessible to a wide audience while also making lasting contributions to the field.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT020000
LITERARY CRITICISM / Comparative Literature