By Helena Woodard
The eighteenth century was once a time of serious cultural switch in Britain. It used to be a interval marked by way of expeditions to the hot international, Africa, and the Orient, and those voyages have been mirrored within the go back and forth literature of the period. It used to be additionally a interval within which seventeenth-century empiricism and the medical strategy grew to become dominant, and within which society turned more and more secular. basic to the eighteenth-century worldview was once the concept of the nice Chain of Being, within which all creatures and their writer stood in a hierarchical dating with each other. The years from 1660 to 1833 witnessed either Britain's participation in slavery and the appropriation of the good Chain of Being by means of social anthropologists and political leaders. With the increase of the slave exchange, blacks have been delivered to Britain opposed to their will, the place they have been enslaved. even as, intellectuals of the interval attempted to put those slaves in the hierarchical body supplied via the good Chain of Being.
The presence of slavery in Britain aroused a lot debate between blacks and whites alike, and the literature of the eighteenth century displays that discuss. This publication examines representations of blacks in eighteenth-century British literature to light up the discussions approximately race in the course of that interval. the quantity starts with a dialogue of Alexander Pope's popularization of the good Chain of Being in his Essay on Man, which argued the common score of humanity and which supplied an highbrow beginning for slavery. It then examines the works of a number of white canonical writers, together with Defoe, Addison and Steele, fast, and Sterne, to work out how blacks are portrayed of their works. the quantity additionally examines works by way of African-British writers, similar to James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw and Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, who reveal exclusionary practices between a few theologians; Ignatius Sancho, whose Letters exhibit how slaves have been taught to be thankful, and the way these missing gratitude have been thought of inhuman; and Olaudah Equiano, who exhibits how racial hierarchies functionality as a literary trope, rather in go back and forth literature. the ultimate bankruptcy, on The background of Mary Prince, examines the interplay of race and gender.
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Extra resources for African-British Writings in the Eighteenth Century: The Politics of Race and Reason (Contributions to the Study of World Literature)
In a chapter entitled "Battle for the Coast," Basil Davidson (The African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850 [Boston: Little, Brown, 1961]) chronicles the commercial shipping companies trading in the West Indies as follows: Portugal, Holland (1611-12), and England (1618; James I charters the Company of Adventurers of London Trading into Parts of Africa). Strongholds were established by English settlements in the Bermudas (1609), St. Christopher (1623), and Barbados (1625). The French settled in Guadeloupe and Martinique (1626); and the Dutch settled in the Southern Caribbean in the 1630s (Davidson, 55, 58.
The New or Experimental Philosophy referred to discoveries in anatomy, astronomy, and navigation that ushered in modem science. Bacon was seen as a modem who freed philosophy from the shackles of the past. 3. , The Petty-Southwell Correspondence (London: Constable, 1928). 4. Sir Matthew Hale's Primitive Origination of Mankindwas published in 1677. 5. G. F. Zook, The Company of Royal Adventurers Trading into Africa (Lancaster, PA: Press of the New Era Printing, 1919), 9, 16. See also Eric Williams, Capitalism and Slavery (New York: G.
The poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind / Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; / His Soul, proud Science Reading Pope/Reasoning Race 11 never taught to stray" (I. 101-103). The Native American seeks merely to exist securely in a humble abode—away from a technological world "where slaves once more their native land behold" and where "no fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold" (I. 107-08). Pope cannot apply the hierarchical Chain to a concept with the social and historical implications befitting the primitive being without implicating the cultural politics of such a portrait.