In highlighting the crucial contributions of diasporic people to British cultural production, this important collection defamiliarizes prevailing descriptions of Romanticism as the expression of a national character or culture. The contributors approach the period from the perspective of the Atlantic maritime economy, making a strong case for viewing British Romanticism as the effect of myriad economic and cultural exchanges occurring throughout a circum-Atlantic world driven by an insatiable hunger for sugar and slaves. Typically taken for granted, the material contributions of slaves, sailors, and servants shaped Romanticism both in spite of and because of the severe conditions they experienced throughout the Atlantic world. The essays range from Sierra Leone to Jamaica to Nova Scotia to the metropole, examining not only the desperate circumstances of diasporic peoples but also the extraordinary force of their creativity and resistance. Of particular importance is the emergence of race as a category of identity, class, and containment. Race, Romanticism, and the Atlantic explores that process both economically and theoretically, showing how race ensures the persistence of servitude after abolition. At the same time, the collection never loses sight of the extraordinary contributions diasporic peoples made to British culture during the Romantic era.
Paul Youngquist is Professor of English at the University of Colorado.
A Baker & Taylor Academic Essentials Title in Area/Ethnic Studies: Black Studies outside the U.S. ’Emphasizing circulation and creolization in the Atlantic, this welcome collection explores the African presence in Romantic literature, culture, and interpretation. Essays on poetry, the stage, racism, exploration of Africa, boxing, single mothers, female beauty, rebellion, holiday festivals, and exiled British loyalists, examine the varied populations and cultures slavery forged. Polemical and critical, these essays connect Liverpool, Kingston, London, Nova Scotia, and Senegal.’ Roxann Wheeler, The Ohio State University, USA ’The value of this new addition to the growing body of work on this subject lies in its insistence that emergence and structural dilemmas of British Romanticism, its ideology and political crises, were a direct product of economic and cultural Atlantic networks.’ Wordsworth Circle ’Youngquist’s collection is timely not just because it builds on an important trend in the field of Romanticism, continuing to remind us that any history of the era, literary or otherwise, must deal with the question of race, but also because our understanding of our own era is incomplete without a deep awareness of the legacy of Romanticism and its complex articulations of blackness.’ Romantic Textualities ’...this collection delivers a wonderful variety of incisive essays essential to the remaking of the Romantic canon and its criticism.’ BARS Review