Teaching Race and Racial Difference in Romantic Reformist Fiction
Teaching Race and Racial Difference in Romantic Reformist Fiction
A. A. Markley, Penn State University Brandywine
During the 1790s and the early years of the nineteenth century, a wide range of writers began to experiment with the conventions of the popular novel—the novel of sensibility, the picaresque narrative, the domestic novel, and the gothic novel, among others—in an attempt to open the eyes of the reading public to the possibilities of political and social reform. Many such writers were labeled by conservatives as "Jacobins," a misnomer borrowed from a political group in France, and one that has been preserved by critics in the centuries since. Modern critics have tended to limit the term "Jacobin" to a small circle of writers: Robert Bage, William Godwin, Thomas Holcroft, Elizabeth Inchbald, and Mary Wollstonecraft.  Nevertheless, there were many others at work during these years who, with varying degrees of radicalism, shared the conviction that the novel could be used to convert the opinions of the reading public, including such figures as Maria Edgeworth, Eliza Fenwick, Mary Hays, Anna Maria Mackenzie, Amelia Opie, Mary Robinson, Charlotte Smith, John Thelwall, and Helen Maria Williams.
Although those labeled as Jacobins never became a unified political party espousing one particular doctrine of political change, many authors who sought to disseminate a reformist agenda through their writings did share certain ideals, including 1) a commitment to the rights of the individual that included an emphasis on equality between men and women and an emerging awareness of the disenfranchisement of the lower classes and racial others, 2) a devotion to the Enlightenment idea that reason could and must triumph over tradition through political and social reform, and 3) a conviction that reform could best be achieved by working to alter the opinions of the individual. This group of reformist writers addressed a variety of political and social issues in the revolutionary decade, including advocating for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, the rights of women, resolution of the Jewish question through tolerance, the leveling of the class system, and the enfranchisement of such groups as foreigners, the poor, and the dispossessed in Britain. I have found that these reformists' novels offer students an opportunity to study the political and social controversies of a period in which the rights of the individual and the subjection of the disenfranchised were first widely debated in English fiction. In emphasizing questions of social equity, many of these novels unsettle questions pertaining to gender, class, and race, and thus offer a wealth of opportunities for productive classroom discussions on these topics. However, with the exception of Godwin's Caleb Williams and Wollstonecraft's The Wrongs of Woman; or Maria, most of these works continue to be forgotten today. Few are regularly included in courses on Romantic literature or on the eighteenth-century novel, although works by Bage, Hays, Inchbald, and Smith, among others, are gradually beginning to find their way into course syllabi.
My comments here are based on my experiences teaching a variety of reformist works in senior-level courses and seminars for English majors on the eighteenth-century novel, on the literature of the Romantic period, and on the literature of the 1790s more specifically. These works are perhaps most appropriate for students who have some background in eighteenth-century and Romantic literature, but I have also introduced them to students without such backgrounds by beginning with introductory readings on the political atmosphere of the 1790s, including selections from Burke and Paine, and Godwin and Wollstonecraft. While English majors are concerned about their sufficient exposure to canonical texts, I have found that many of them are very enthusiastic about the opportunity to participate in new research on lesser-known and out-of-print works from the Romantic period and that they welcome assignments that introduce them to research methods involving primary research on such texts. Spade work on long-forgotten texts can be very exciting, as one never knows exactly what will be uncovered; here undergraduates can really feel the thrill of primary research.
In this essay I describe assignments and topics pertaining to Romantic-period reformist texts that treat issues of race and racial difference in particular, and I propose a design for a semester-length course devoted to this topic, the syllabus for which can be found below. Particular units of this course might be easily adapted for more general introductions to Romantic literature or to the British novel, both at the upper-level undergraduate and at graduate levels. The dramatic influx of political content into both reformist and conservative novels of the 1790s and early 1800s laid the groundwork for the development of the novel of social consciousness that would become such a critical component of the genre in the nineteenth century. This history also makes these works ideal for courses on the novel that may include later works by such socially conscious figures as Dickens, Thackeray, Gaskell, Eliot, or Hardy.
In my experience, the novels of the 1790s initiate dynamic learning experiences in the classroom because students readily recognize the degree to which the controversies they address and the values they profess link them to debates about civil rights that have reached well into our own time. It is true that students today often find Romantic-period novels foreign and far-removed from the circumstances of their own lives. In order to draw them into the material and to get them reading and thinking seriously about these texts, it helps to focus on broad themes that place these works in a context that students recognize as relevant to their own experience. Most students recognize issues of race and racial difference as charged and often pressing issues in their own life experiences, and I have found that they tend to become more engaged and invested in our discussions when I ask them to read reformist novels with a particular eye towards how race and racism are encoded within the works and how these authors begin to raise questions about assumptions formed on the basis of racial difference. Such an approach has great pedagogical value, for as students examine how race and racism is depicted and combated in these works, they are better able to apply such ethical considerations to situations in their own immediate and personal contexts. Moreover, as they come to recognize that race and racism function differently at different times, they may come to realize that race and racism have histories.
Although the racial other—the African or Jewish character, for example—appears only occasionally in British literature of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, I have had great success in asking students to analyze, assess, and compare stereotypical treatments of these races in more conservative eighteenth-century texts with the ways these representations begin to be altered by reformist writers who in many cases were working to shape an early argument for the humane treatment of all human beings. Equal civil rights for British citizens of all races would not come to pass for many more generations, but early glimmers of an emerging social conscience in the late eighteenth century would nevertheless contribute significantly to the first stages of that movement. By focusing on issues of race, students are able to recognize that these long-forgotten texts have a direct relationship to cultural problems and issues that continue to challenge us today.
Background Readings on Slavery and Abolition
I suggest beginning a course on the treatment of race in Romantic-period fiction with a reading of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko; or, The Royal Slave (1688), a text Catherine Gallagher has called "the first literary work in English to grasp the global interactions of the modern world," and one to which late-eighteenth-century treatments on race often allude. Gallagher's Bedford Cultural Edition of Oroonoko provides supplementary materials that offer students a wealth of background on race and blackness excerpted from such writers as Montaigne, Jonson, Dryden, Steele, Addison, and Defoe, and on the nature of the slave trade in West Africa, the Caribbean, and Britain in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. This edition also excerpts Thomas Southerne's 1695 dramatic adaptation of Oroonoko as well as a 1760 adaptation of Southerne's play that demonstrates how effectively the Royal Prince's story was adapted to the abolitionist cause in the eighteenth century. After we discuss Oroonoko as a literary work, I have had students study these supplementary works and prepare class presentations on them to instruct their peers on a wide variety of these related issues and topics.
The popular dramatizations of Oroonoko provide a perfect segue into a study of abolitionist poetry of the late eighteenth century. The range of selections provided in the section entitled "Slavery, the Slave Trade, and Abolition in Britain" in Anne K. Mellor's and Richard E. Matlak's British Literature 1780-1830 provide a perfect introduction to these works; other anthologies of British literature such as those published by Longman and Broadview Press contain many of the same selections. In the Mellor/Matlak anthology, excerpts from Lord Mansfield's 1772 judgment on the rights of slaves, as well as from abolitionist writings by Ottobah Cugoano, William Wilberforce, and Thomas Clarkson provide useful background for our work on such poems as William Cowper's "Pity for Poor Africans" (1788), with its parable exposing those who decry slavery without recognizing their own complicity in supporting a slave-driven economy, and Amelia Opie's "The Black Man's Lament, or How to Make Sugar" (1826), in which a slave speaker explains in vivid terms why his sufferings outweigh those of the laborer in Britain.
Understandably, I have found that my students are most profoundly affected by our work with actual slave narratives from the period, such as The History of Mary Prince (1831) and selections from Olaudah Equiano's The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789), both of which are commonly excerpted in anthologies of British literature. Angelo Costanzo's 2004 Broadview edition of Equiano's autobiography is particularly useful for its supplementary materials on the first Abolition Movement. Prince's and Equiano's narratives work well together because each describes a distinctly different experience of slavery. Prince's account of the abuses she suffers from a series of cruel owners is more viscerally disturbing for its graphic illustration of the particular vulnerability of slave women. Equiano's narrative, on the other hand, raises thought-provoking issues relating to its influence on late eighteenth-century readers. Students are interested to learn that Equiano embarked on one of the earliest book tours when his autobiography was published in order to capitalize on the Narrative 's potential contribution to the Abolition Movement. In addition, the controversy over the actual place of Equiano's birth—Africa versus South Carolina—plagued Equiano after the Narrative appeared and continues amongst critics today, a debate that can spark a provocative class discussion on what effect this question does or should have on how we assess Equiano's life story today.
The African in England and in the Reformist Novel
I propose following the study of actual slave narratives by turning to William Earle, Jr.'s Obi; or, The History of Three-fingered Jack, an account of escaped slave named Jack Mansong, famous for his practice of "obi" or "obeah," a West African brand of sorcery or voodoo, and for his role as leader of a band of robbers in the early 1780s. Earle's novel is available in a Broadview edition edited by Srinivas Aravamudan that includes the text of James Fawcett's pantomime of Mansong's story; the pantomime and an 1820s-era melodrama can also be accessed in the August 2002 Romantic Circles Praxis Volume dedicated to the history of Obi. Interestingly, Fawcett's pantomime became a sensation on the London stage in the summer of 1800 and remained popular for decades afterwards. While the success of Fawcett's pantomime was likely due to Jack's superhuman portrayal and the violence of his rebellious life and of his capture, the story of Obi played an important role in opening Londoners' eyes to many of the realities of slave life in the West Indies and to the injustice of slavery as an institution. Charles Rzepka has pointed out that by the 1820s Obi became an even more powerful vehicle for English abolitionists, when William Murray converted the pantomime into a melodrama and gave Jack a speaking role that allowed him to speak out against the atrocities of the capture of Africans and of their treatment by planters in the West Indian colonies. As in the case of Southerne's dramatization of Behn's Oroonoko, teaching the pantomime and melodrama of Obi alongside Earle's novel allows students to analyze how specific aspects of the novel were translated into affecting dramatic scenes and illustrates exactly how abolitionists tended to utilize popular venues of contemporary entertainment to convert their audiences to their cause. Obi also provides a link from our work on abolitionist poetry and slave narratives to a particular focus on reformist fiction.
In turning to the topic of race in Romantic-period fiction, I recommend beginning with either Anna Maria Mackenzie's Slavery: Or, The Times (1792) or Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray (1804). Certainly Opie's novel, which is available in paperback editions edited by Miriam Wallace and by Shelley King and John B. Peirce is easier to access. Mackenzie's Slavery, by contrast, is a long-forgotten work available today only on Thomson Gale's Eighteenth-Century Collections Online database (ECCO), and so is limited to courses on university campuses that subscribe to this database, or to those who are willing to provide students with photocopies of particular chapters of the novel. Slavery is a quirky novel, and Mackenzie's attempts to simulate the vernacular of particular characters make it harder for students to follow at times; nevertheless I have found it to be a very effective text for provoking dynamic classroom discussions on its depiction of slavery and its abolitionist bent.
Mackenzie's primary goal in her novel lay in exposing the evils of the slave trade and the mechanisms by which it was being perpetuated, and she does so by recasting the Rousseauan child of nature in her hero Adolphus, a young African prince who embodies the qualities of the hypersensitive man of feeling to the fullest degree. As the epistolary novel opens, the African chief Zimza of Tonouwah puts his son Adolphus under the guardianship of a friend in London so that the boy can be given an English education. Mackenzie may have based the character of Adolphus and his experiences in England on any of a number of contemporary accounts of African princes who were brought to Europe to be educated, many of whom were sold into slavery despite their parents' trust in the white traders and sailors who promised them safe passage. In 1749, for example, the son of a West African king and a friend were sold into slavery by their ship's captain rather than being carried to England as promised. After their ransom by the British government, the young men enjoyed celebrity in London and were greeted by public applause when they attended a Covent Garden revival of Southerne's Oroonoko. Students are pleased to recognize the symbolic importance of Oroonoko when Mackenzie's hero also attends a revival of the play.
Adolphus's position as an innocent raised in a simpler, yet in many ways more civilized, culture allows him to make incisive observations on contemporary and fashionable life in Britain and its colonies throughout the novel. As soon as he arrives in England, Adolphus is shocked to witness a press-gang force young men into service, and he asks how this practice differs from the slave trade. Adolphus is also shocked by the social conventions of the haut ton. He cannot understand the devotion of the upper-class English to their nightly gambling routs, nor the cold reserve of young English women who feign a lack of interest in the men whose attentions they desire. By including such attacks of high society in contemporary Britain, Mackenzie extends her critique of slavery into a broader critique of the European class system. Ultimately, by placing an innocent colonial spectator in cosmopolitan England, she is able to expand what might have been simply a fictionalized abolitionist tract into a wide-ranging assessment of the characteristics of a "civilized" world that allows for and even nurtures slavery, enforced military service, the subjection of women, and inheritance fraud, among many other social evils of the day.
Mackenzie's particular brand of social satire owes much to Voltaire's L'Ingénu (1767), and teachers who are interested in devoting class time to Slavery might consider beginning by having students read Voltaire's satire. Alternatively, a study of Slavery in the classroom might be usefully followed by either Elizabeth Inchbald's Nature and Art (1796) or Robert Bage's Hermsprong; or Man As He Is Not (1796), both of which follow Mackenzie in adapting Voltaire's ingénu as a critic of social mores and behaviors in 1790s Britain.
As an alternative to Slavery, Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray also offers a rare view of an African character's experience of late eighteenth-century England. Although the African is often stereotyped during this period as the unflaggingly faithful servant to a white individual or family, Opie employs and also moves beyond the stereotype in her characterization of her heroine Adeline's companion, Savanna. Savanna is introduced in the novel when the destitute Adeline decides to sell a valuable veil at one third of its value in order to buy a pineapple as a treat for her dying lover Glenmurray. On the way to the fruitmonger's, Adeline encounters a family of former slaves in distress. Although he is deathly ill, the father, William, is being arrested and taken to debtor's prison for a debt of six pounds. Adeline deliberates on the situation until she hears the creditor make a racial slur regarding William and his wife Savanna. Because this particular case of brutality is compounded by racial prejudice, Adeline cannot resist the inclination to assist the family, despite the fact that alleviating their debt will deprive her beloved Glenmurray of perhaps his last pleasure. Students generally agree that the significance of this particular episode lies in Opie's demonstration to her readers that her heroine does not initially recognize racial difference until it is drawn to her attention.
After this episode the grateful Savanna and her son "Tawny Boy" become devoted companions and servants to Adeline, enduring poverty alongside her. The embodiment of perfect loyalty, Savanna stays by Adeline's side for the rest of Adeline's life, nursing her through illness, helping her eke out a meager living, and going so far as to protect Adeline when she makes an unfortunate marriage to the deceitful Charles Berrendale. In the final lines of the novel the dying Adeline rests her head not on her mother's, but on Savanna's bosom. The subtitle of Adeline Mowbray, "The Mother and Daughter," clearly indicates the emphasis Opie wished to place on Adeline's troubled relationship with her mother Editha. After raising Adeline to subscribe to a system of modern philosophical convictions that disdains the institution of marriage, Editha values her status in society too highly to support Adeline when Adeline acts on those convictions and chooses not to marry her lover Glenmurray. In addition, Editha further alienates Adeline by repeatedly exhibiting a selfish preference for her dissolute husband over her own daughter. In the final analysis, it is highly significant that it is the nurturing Savanna who provides Adeline with the care and protection of a true mother.
Students might be asked why Opie may have chosen to depict an African character in a period in which so few such characters appear in the British novel. As a woman and as an escaped slave who is sold back into slavery when she returns to Jamaica, Savanna represents perhaps the most extreme example of the dispossessed in contemporary British culture. Her status as an outcast and as the survivor of literal enslavement make her an example with which the reader is asked to compare Adeline's own situation as a woman and a social outcast. Here critical essays on the novel can be very helpful. Carol Howard, for example, argues that Adeline Mowbray "establishes an idealized and nostalgic relationship of what might best be called fealty" between Adeline and Savanna, providing a "melioristic, rather than revolutionary, solution both to the 'problem' of slavery and the problems of marriage." Going one step farther, Roxanne Eberle suggests that "the escaped black slave can serve as an empowering model for the psychologically shackled white British woman" because she has "reclaimed herself from an economic and legal system which had considered her 'chattel.'" In Eberle's view Opie offers the resistance of the African woman in England as inspiration to the women of Britain.
Howard's and Eberle's analyses of Adeline Mowbray can initiate a valuable discussion concerning whether or not the novel should be read as a melioristic approach to the "'problem' of slavery and the problems of marriage" or as a more radical attempt to encourage women readers to recognize parallels between their status and that of African slaves. Of course opinions will be varied, but most undergraduates agree that it is significant that, at the very least, Opie asks her readers to consider Savanna's humanity and her rights as a human being, just as she asks her readers to consider Adeline's rights as a British woman. Would it be premature to assume that Opie's goal may have been to address such prejudice as a first step towards converting her readers' attitudes towards the treatment of both Africans and women in contemporary society? The question is of course debatable, but from this particular perspective Adeline Mowbray may be interpreted as a more revolutionary and more profoundly provocative text than it has been to date; indeed, many critics have traditionally and reductively consigned it to the category of anti-Jacobin literature due to its complex exploration of the limitations of Godwin's and Wollstonecraft's philosophies. By attending to its handling of the issues of women's position and especially of the black woman's plight, we can resituate this novel as importantly reformist.
The Creole Stereotype in the Hands of Reformists
Eighteenth-century literary treatments of the West Indian Creole tend to offer more insight into contemporary attitudes towards slavery and abolition than representations of African slaves themselves. In the eighteenth century the term "Creole" was applied broadly to whites who had settled in the West Indies from a variety of European countries, including England, France, Spain, and the Netherlands. Despite the fact that British consumers constantly demanded West Indian exports in ever-increasing quantities, depictions of Creoles in the British novel often indicate a distinct discomfort with perceived differences in personality and manners between the British at home and those who lived abroad. In many cases an uneasiness about the social position of Creoles is overshadowed by a deeper anxiety concerning miscegenation.
Richard Cumberland's play The West Indian (1771) contains one of the most influential portraits of a Creole in the late eighteenth century, although it is an unusually benign one. The play provides a good starting-point for a discussion of the stereotype, and although Cumberland's work has not been republished in an affordable classroom edition, facsimiles of early editions are available on ECCO and in a 6-volume Garland edition edited by Roberta Borkat. In The West Indian, Cumberland's good-hearted hero "Belcour" arrives in London with a host of slaves carrying his many trunks of belongings. An English friend characterizes Belcour as the product of "an education not of the strictest kind," and allows that "strong animal spirits, are apt sometimes to betray him into youthful irregularities," but he also attests to Belcour's unusual candour and his "uncommon benevolence." Despite his good heart, however, Belcour immediately incites a riot when he arrives in London and treats the boatmen on the docks as if they were his slaves.
It is not surprising that Belcour's New World upbringing has not prepared him for life in England, and his experiences there quickly reveal him to be far too naïve for sophisticated Londoners. Belcour himself is quick to blame the "irregularities" of his character on the region of his birth (I, 40; 77). He explains his sudden obsession with the beautiful Louisa Dudley, for example, by stating that "if this is folly in me, you must rail at Nature: you must chide the sun, that was vertical at my birth, and would not wink upon my nakedness, but swaddled me in the broadest, hottest glare of his meridian beams" (I, 33). Despite a precipitous nature, Belcour's "heart beaming with benevolence" and "animated nature, fallible indeed, but not incorrigible" (I, 77) ultimately win him Louisa's love, as well as the affection of the other English characters.
Reformist fictions of the 1790s include more complex and more provocative depictions of the Creole stereotype. One of the best examples can be found in Charlotte Smith's "The Story of Henrietta," in the second volume of The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer (1800), recently republished in volume XI of Pickering and Chatto's The Works of Charlotte Smith. Smith takes her reader into the heart of plantation life in Jamaica and into the midst of an uprising of "maroons," a term derived from the French marron, meaning "feral," and applied to bands of fugitives from slavery and their descendants in the West Indies. Smith places her beleaguered heroine Henrietta Maynard in a highly Gothic setting, albeit one adapted to contemporary Jamaica, when Henrietta is faced with "a father possessing unlimited power, and surrounded by slaves; in a remote house, of an island, many parts of which are liable to the attacks of savages driven to desperation, and thirsting for the blood of any who resembled even in colour their hereditary oppressors." Henrietta's father embodies the worst possible stereotype of the cruel Jamaican landowner. Interestingly, Smith does not shrink from describing Henrietta's shock at discovering that several of the mulatto servants in her father's household are his own daughters and thus her half-sisters. When her father attempts to force Henrietta to marry a man he has chosen for her, her position is compared to that of her father's slaves when one of the slaves tells her that "master give him you, Miss, and all this great rich estates, and pens and all" (II, 63). As Opie would do a few years later in Adeline Mowbray, here Smith makes the parallel between the subjection of women and that of West Indian slaves perfectly clear.
One of the most extensive treatments of turn-of-the-century life in the West Indies can be found in John Thelwall's little-known novel The Daughter of Adoption, published in 1801 under the pseudonym of "John Beaufort." Although Thelwall's novel is long out of print and is currently available only on microfiche in Sheffield Hallam University's Corvey Project, the novel includes unusually complex treatments of race and slavery and thus has a great deal to offer in courses addressing these topics. Like Mackenzie's Slavery, this novel well repays the trouble of providing students with a few photocopied excerpts. In the novel the young hero, Henry Montfort, travels to his father's estate in St Domingo, where he finds that Creoles exhibit the worst kinds of social behaviors that he encountered at home in England. He is horrified by the Creoles' treatment of their slaves, and particularly by their nonchalance about disciplining the slaves with brutal forms of corporal punishment. When he raises questions about the issue, Henry is called an ami des noirs, a name alluding to a contemporary abolitionist society in France. "Where is the elysian scene that vice and misery will not pervade," Henry asks with great passion, while enjoying a magnificent West Indian landscape, "when impious man, trampling the sacred rights of nature in the dust, erects the arbitrary distinctions of races and of colours; and makes the vulgar accidents of climate—the tints and traits of feature imparted by a too fervid sun, the shallow pretexts for trafficking in human gore, and bending the necks of a large proportion of the human race under the iron yoke of slavery?" Though expressed in florid language, Henry's statement is a remarkably early demonstration of the arbitrariness and insignificance of skin color in relation to human worth.
Despite his clear abolitionist agenda, Thelwall's treatment of race in The Daughter of Adoption is complicated in ways that can be troubling to students today. The novel's villain, for example, is Lucius Moroon, a wealthy planter whose very name embodies racial tensions of the West Indies; the bloody Maroon War of 1795-1796 would have been a recent memory for Thelwall's readers in 1801. Moroon's dissipated character is blamed on the fact that he was raised by mulattoes. Here contemporary anxiety about the potential threat of miscegenation is brought to the fore, as Thelwall characterizes mulattoes as "a set of people in whose composition vices the most atrocious, and virtues the most rare and disinterested, are frequently so confused and blended, that it is sometimes equally difficult to condemn with sufficient abhorrence, or applaud them with sufficient ardour" (II, 143).
When Thelwall introduces the Creole heroine Seraphina, he is careful to describe her in a way that makes her racial heritage unclear: her eyes are "too dark for hazel," her brown hair is "glossed with a tint of orient," and the shade of her skin is notably neglected (I, 320). Described as an unusually intelligent and free-thinking young woman, Seraphina becomes the most vocal mouthpiece for the novel's progressive ideals. It may be that Seraphina's status as a Creole made Thelwall more comfortable in allowing her relationship with Henry to become a sexual one virtually from the start. On their voyage to England immediately after the insurrection, Seraphina becomes pregnant, but the couple does not marry for fear that Henry's father will disinherit him. Here Thelwall recasts the reformist heroines of such bold feminists as Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Hays; Seraphina lives without shame because she considers herself married to Henry in her heart. Not surprisingly, however, once she arrives in England Seraphina's modern ideas on love and marriage serve only to confirm suspicions about West Indian morals. In references made to her by English characters the term "Creole" is used with a sharp racist edge.
Although The Daughter of Adoption promotes the radical reformist idea that marriage is merely a ceremony and has no bearing on the essential purity of the heart, Henry and Seraphina do marry at the novel's conclusion. The actual ceremony does not take place, however, until Seraphina is revealed to be the natural child of Henry's father Percival Montfort, as is, surprisingly enough, Lucius Moroon. After a few chapters in which the reader is left to worry that incest has been committed, Henry is conveniently proven to be Montfort's adopted son. Thus on the final pages of the novel Thelwall diffuses any tension stemming from the uncertainty of Seraphina's background by revealing her to be a purely white English girl after all. Michael Scrivener has observed that despite the novel's abolitionist agenda, its conclusion "only mildly disrupts the racist categories, because the utopian community formed around Seraphina and Henry in north Yorkshire is all-white and socially homogenous." It is likely that students will agree that establishing Seraphina's racial status as purely white at the end of the novel undercuts the force of the novel's social criticism, and some may assume that Thelwall felt the necessity of capitulating to the demands of contemporary literary convention in order to please his readers. Nevertheless, students should also be asked to consider the import of the fact that despite the novel's ending, Thelwall has required his reader to rethink a variety of common assumptions about race and racial stereotypes throughout the greater part of his narrative.
To conclude a unit on the Creole stereotype, teachers might consider texts that seem to advocate less radical and even melioristic responses of slavery as contrasts to such overtly anti-slavery texts as "The Story of Henrietta" and The Daughter of Adoption. Maria Edgeworth's short story, "The Grateful Negro," provides a perfect example of a melioristic treatment of slavery that will provoke a wide range of strong student opinions. Included in her Popular Tales of 1804, "The Grateful Negro" is available in volume XII of Pickering and Chatto's The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth and in the Mellor-Matlak anthology. In this tale Edgeworth introduces a slave-owner in Jamaica, Mr. Jefferies, who epitomizes the worst of the cruel slave-owner stereotype, in contrast to his neighbor, Mr. Edwards, a planter who "wished that there was no such thing as slavery in the world," but who was also "convinced, by the arguments of those who have the best means of obtaining information, that the sudden emancipation of the negroes would rather encrease than diminish their miseries." Mr. Edwards "adopted those plans, for the amelioration of the state of the slaves, which appeared to him the most likely to succeed without producing any violent agitation, or revolution" (49-50). Edwards assigns his slaves reasonable daily tasks and allows them free time to pursue their own interests. If they choose to perform additional work for their master, they are paid wages. When Jefferies is forced by his debts to sell his slave Caesar, and thus separate Caesar from his beloved Clara, Edwards steps in and buys both Caesar and Clara so that the two may stay together and marry. This vision of ameliorated slavery is complicated, however, by the story's focus on a violent slave rebellion, instances of which were often cited by anti-abolitionists as justification for keeping slaves in submission. Caesar's friend, Hector, is driven to a frenzy by the local obeah woman Esther into plotting a bloody attack on all of the whites in the area. When Caesar is unable to sway Hector or Esther in their plans for the insurrection, he gives up his own life to warn Edwards and thus saves his master from the attack.
Modern critics insist that "The Grateful Negro" cannot be classed alongside abolitionist texts and that it must be more accurately understood as an exploration of ethical aspects of labor and of abuses that can lead to violent rebellion. It is true that the story builds upon contemporary ameliorative arguments for the reform of slavery and for the humane treatment of slaves, although it should be acknowledged that such arguments were usually made by those who wished to see slavery abolished eventually. As an ameliorative treatment of slavery, then, must "The Grateful Negro" be read as a conservative work? Students should be asked whether Edgeworth intends her reader to see the insurrection as proof that slaves must be carefully, if more humanely, subdued, or whether she suggests that an institution that allows such abuses and thus fosters such violence is intrinsically wrong. If not a radical or revolutionary text, many students argue that Edgeworth's tale departs from conservative treatments of slavery in focusing, like Opie's Adeline Mowbray, on qualities of trust, loyalty and vulnerability in the individual, that at the very least demand that people of conscience recognize the African as a human being.
An alternative example of an ameliorative treatment of slavery can be found in Thomas Holcroft's Memoirs of Bryan Perdue, which is available in a Garland facsimile edition and in volume IV of Pickering and Chatto's recent The Novels and Selected Plays of Thomas Holcroft. In Bryan Perdue Holcroft attacks the institution of capital punishment as his confessional narrator follows a description of his early fall into vice and his narrow escape from execution for forgery with an account of how he was able to reform himself and devote himself to the benefit of others. In Bryan's case, he focuses his newfound devotion to benevolent acts on West Indian slaves when he leaves England to accept a position as estate-manager of a sugar plantation in Jamaica, an episode that closes the novel in the final nine chapters of its third volume. When he arrives in Jamaica, Bryan quarrels with the white superintendent of the black gangs on the plantation about how the slaves should be managed, insisting that the blacks should be humanized by being taught to reform their actions, a plan that the overseer dismisses as unrealistic. Despite the overseer's doubts Bryan persists in his plan of reform in several stages. First, he wins the slaves' trust and affection by praising their good work and by reasoning with them on behaviors he wishes them to alter. Bryan institutes a reward system for excellence, finds ways to improve the comforts of the slaves' living quarters, and encourages their successes in the cultivation of private gardens set aside as their own property. Unfortunately, Holcroft's attempt to illustrate how one reformed criminal might later prove to benefit the lives of scores of his fellow men and women is undercut for modern readers by the fact that the novel does not take a stand against the institution of slavery, but merely illustrates how the sufferings of slaves might be alleviated.
Both Edgeworth's and Holcroft's treatments of slavery in these works draw heavily an ameliorative tradition established by Sarah Scott in The History of Sir George Ellison (1766) and by Henry Mackenzie in Julia de Roubigné (1777), and teachers interested in spending more time on ameliorative treatments might consider including readings of these earlier eighteenth-century texts before moving to Edgeworth or Holcroft. Regardless of the reading material, however, when assessing the political nature of ameliorative texts in the classroom, it is important for instructor and students alike to acknowledge the degree to which our own perspectives and values affect our readings of such texts. More open condemnations of slavery would certainly be far more appealing to today's readers. Nevertheless, it is important to ask students to consider the degree to which the complete abolition of slavery may not have seemed realistic or feasible even to committed liberals in the late eighteenth century. I have asked my students to compare this historical moment to the difficulty of stemming the tide of economic forces in the world today when a particular commodity such as tobacco is acknowledged as harmful to consumers, or when the production and consumption of oil, for example, is recognized as harmful to the earth, or as a cause of political friction and war between world powers. Such analogies can lead to animated discussions regarding the extent to which both politics and economics bear on cultural values and mores in every age.
Changing Stereotypes of the Jew in Britain
In addition to the racial stereotypes of Africans and Creoles, highly stereotypical portraits of English Jews also appear occasionally in the fiction of the late eighteenth century, commonly drawing on the familiar role of Shakespeare's Shylock as the shrewd but heartless money-lender. Sheila Spector has enumerated three additional stereotypes by which Jews are depicted in British literature, including those based upon Faust; the Wandering Jew, Ahasuerus; and Jessica, the assimilated convert to Christianity. As a racial group, Jews in England were always difficult for the English to categorize easily. Judith Page has explained this difficulty by pointing out that they "were mostly poor but they were also rich, they were foreign-looking but they also simulated British gentility, they spoke English but not always the King's English."
Perhaps the most fully drawn and the least stereotypical depiction of an English Jew in a novel of the 1790s is to be found in George Walker's Theodore Cyphon; or The Benevolent Jew (1796), another novel available on ECCO, and another that richly rewards the trouble of photocopying for students, if only in excerpted selections. At the novel's opening the Jewish Shechem Bensadi is rescued by the fugitive hero Theodore while being harassed by a group of thugs in a dark winter snowstorm. Bensadi offers Theodore a room, board, and a job in his counting house, without asking questions about Theodore's past. The young man is shocked by Bensadi's generosity and makes the novel's stance on contemporary Christianity quite clear when he tells Bensadi that "I have felt in a country where ostentatious charity gilds the insides of our churches, and erects magnificent buildings, that from the forlorn wanderer, even justice is withheld." "Where is the Christian who would have done this?" the narrator asks of Bensadi's generosity (I, 18).
Although Walker does draw on several contemporary stereotypes concerning the Jews, he mitigates them as his story unfolds. Bensadi is depicted as being extremely penurious and concerned with his investments, for example. Nevertheless, Theodore is astonished to learn from a servant that Bensadi lends freely and without interest to save a poor family from ruin, while simultaneously charging a high rate of interest to a needy peer. In a rare scene in the fiction of the period, Theodore accompanies Bensadi to a meeting of the local Jewish community and witnesses how Bensadi functions as a private bank, supplying the wants of his friends and neighbors and accepting their repayments whenever they are able to pay him back.
The reviewers of Theodore Cyphon immediately identified Shechem Bensadi as a reinterpretation of Sheva, a character made popular on the London stage two years earlier in Richard Cumberland's 1794 comedy The Jew, which would be a useful text to assign before turning to Walker's novel. Initially Cumberland presents Sheva as the embodiment of the avaricious stereotype of the Jewish money-lender. But Sheva lends literally all of his money to help others and assumes the life of a pauper, explaining that while he does love his money, he loves his fellow man more. Critics are divided on the significance of Cumberland 's play as a social document. For Judith Page, Sheva is merely a reversal of the usurer stereotype, and Cumberland's ostensible good will in presenting a benevolent portrait of the Jew is undercut by his own admission in his later Memoirs that he hoped this original approach to the stereotype would make his play a success. For Michael Ragussis, however, The Jew plays a far more significant role in British literary history. Ragussis argues that Cumberland subverts the stereotype by imagining the transformation of financial debt into moral debt. For him the play formulates "the basic paradigm for representing the way in which national populations divided by ethnic or religious conflict could be reimagined as whole and integrated beyond prejudice." The success of Walker's project in Theodore Cyphon is likewise open to discussion, making it and Cumberland's play productive texts for classroom debate, particularly considering the fact that Walker has been universally classed as an anti-Jacobin due to his satiric attack on Godwin and Wollstonecraft in his 1799 The Vagabond.
Maria Edgeworth's Change of Heart
In courses in which I have chosen literary texts that unsettle contemporary assumptions about gender and race in the late eighteenth century, I have found Maria Edgeworth's Belinda (1801) to be a perfect capstone text. Available in an Oxford paperback edited by Kathryn J. Kirkpatrick and as volume II in Pickering's The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth, Belinda offers a wealth of opportunities for discussing issues pertaining to race and racial difference. One of the most fully realized portraits of a Creole in the period, for example, can be found in Belinda's suitor, the Jamaican planter Augustus Vincent. The cheerful Vincent appears to have been inspired by Cumberland's Belcour, although Edgeworth ultimately emphasizes the threatening potential of his vices rather than softening them as Cumberland does. Vincent's typical "sunburnt complexion" is aligned to a personality that is "full of fire and animation." Despite his charismatic personality, however, Edgeworth explains that Vincent's "social prejudices were such as, in some degree, to supply the place of the power and habit of reasoning, in which he was totally deficient" (170-71). Worst of all, Vincent expressed a "disdain of reason as a moral guide," and "thought, acted, and suffered as a man of feeling" (326-27).
As in Belcour's case, Vincent's weak reasoning abilities and his high spirits get him into trouble in England. The combination of his naïveté and his love of pleasure makes him easy prey to high society gamblers who cheat him of his fortune. Ultimately, his high passions make him unsuitable for life among the English and for a marriage to such an ideal of English womanhood as Edgeworth's heroine. Throughout the novel Belinda's mentor Lady Delacour takes great pains to maneuver Belinda away from Vincent and towards her choice of a more appropriate suitor. Susan Greenfield argues that Lady Delacour "represents a form of national and racial border patrol" in "securing Belinda's sexual borders" from Mr. Vincent, and orchestrating her eventual marriage to the thoroughly English Clarence Hervey. For Greenfield, Lady Delacour's fixation on racial distinctions "may reflect concerns West Indian colonialism generated, as British settlement complicated efforts to separate English citizens from English settlers and their Creole descendants and as the West Indies became potential economic and political liabilities at the end of the eighteenth century." Students are intrigued to learn that Edgeworth responded to criticism by dramatically altering Belinda's expressions of interest in Mr. Vincent in revisions she made to the novel for a new edition in 1810 and by removing her promise to marry him. Indeed, a classroom exercise in which students are asked to assess the differences between Belcour and Vincent and to assess Edgeworth's revisions in 1810 will offer them great insight into changing attitudes towards English Creoles and an increased public awareness of the terrible realities of slavery over a span of four decades.
Interestingly, Belinda includes an episode in which Belinda and Mr. Vincent read together Day's and Bicknell's melodramatic poem "The Dying Negro," in which a former slave planning to marry a white woman in England takes his own life when he is captured to avoid being returned to America. Edgeworth's use of the poem in this context raises important questions about Vincent's moral character as a West Indian planter. While he praises the poem, his imperfect understanding of it suggests his inability to acknowledge fully the evils of slavery. Greenfield explains that Vincent identifies with the poem from a romantic point of view and not a political one, writing that he "apparently sympathizes with the African speaker of the poem, who, like him, discovers the supposed superiority of European female beauty." Vincent's blindness to the exploitation of slavery is also evident in his relationship with Juba, the loyal slave he brings with him to England. While Vincent treats Juba with kindness, it is telling, and troubling, that Juba bears the same name as Vincent's loyal dog.
Juba's role in Belinda adds another layer to unravel in analyzing the treatment of African slaves in the novel of the period. Edgeworth includes an episode in which Juba courts and marries an English girl named Lucy, the daughter of an elderly porter and his wife, who encourage the match despite Lucy's initial fear of Juba's black face. Felicity Nussbaum has pointed out that miscegenation did not appear to trouble the British during this period if the darker partner's social rank was equal to or greater than that of the white partner. To Lucy's parents, Juba's color is irrelevant; they recognize him as a good potential son-in-law because of his good nature and his industriousness in caning chairs and weaving baskets. Typical of the stereotype of fidelity, Juba's most overwhelming emotion on his wedding day is his gratitude to his master. Rather than singing to his new bride, Juba composes a wedding song in honor of Mr. Vincent, "which he sang to his banjore with the most touching expression of joyful gratitude" (II, 200). Again, students are intrigued to learn that Edgeworth was persuaded by her father and others to rewrite this episode when she prepared her new edition of Belinda in 1810. In her revision Edgeworth replaces Juba as Lucy's groom with an Englishman by the name of James Jackson, although Juba's grateful "banjore" song remains a part of the wedding festivities. This alteration may support Nussbaum's argument that increasing numbers of freed slaves in England in the early years of the nineteenth century led to more distinctly defined racial categories, as well as to increased anxieties about miscegenation.
Belinda also raises interesting questions concerning the depiction of Jews in England in the early years of the nineteenth century. Edgeworth's depiction of a parsimonious money-lender here, as well as in her 1812 novel The Absentee, resulted in the author's change of heart in the years to follow. In August 1815 Edgeworth received an unsettling letter from a Jewish American reader by the name of Rachel Mordecai, who praised Edgeworth's novels and children's stories but asked how an author "who on all other subjects shows such justice and liberality, should on one alone appear biased by prejudice." "Can it be believed," Mordecai asks, "that this race of men are by nature mean, avaricious, and unprincipled?" A chagrined Edgeworth was thus inspired to respond to this criticism by publishing a sympathetic treatment of the Jews in England in her 1817 novel Harrington.
Harrington chronicles the psychological history of a confessional narrator who develops a psychotic antipathy towards Jews as a result of outlandish tales told to him by a racist and uneducated nurse. As Harrington grows up, his interactions with actual Jewish figures of the day allow him to challenge and eventually overcome his prejudices. Ultimately Harrington becomes friends with the affluent and brilliantly educated Mr. Montenero, a Spanish Jew who has escaped persecution by the Inquisition by fleeing to America, and later to England. Predictably, Harrington falls in love with Montenero's beautiful daughter Berenice. In one particularly climactic episode, Harrington and the Monteneros attempt to protect themselves from a violent mob when the Gordon Riots break out in 1780. During these riots mobs attack and destroy the homes of non-Protestants and foreigners, crying "No Jews, no wooden shoes!" The Monteneros and their home are saved largely through the efforts of a well-meaning orange-woman who runs for help. This woman, who calls herself the widow Levy, voices perhaps the most open-minded attitude towards Jews in the novel. Loyal to the Monteneros for their generous patronage in the past, she calls Montenero "the best Christian any way ever I happened on," and proclaims that "we were all brothers and sisters once.in the time of Adam, sure, and we should help one another in all times."
Throughout Harrington Edgeworth alludes liberally to such earlier literary treatments of the Jew as The Merchant of Venice, Cumberland's The Jew, and Gotthold Lessing's Nathan the Wise (1779), an influential play in which the Jewish merchant Nathan demonstrates to the other characters the futility of racial and religious prejudice. Her most overt reference to Lessing's play can be found in the novel's conclusion when Montenero reveals that Berenice is not a Jew after all. Montenero explains that his late wife was Christian, and that he had allowed Berenice to be raised as a Christian as well. The two had kept this fact a secret in order to test potential suitors for anti-Semitic tendencies. Berenice insists that she will not marry a man who displays any prejudice towards her father's religion, nor will she accept a lover so unfaithful as to be willing to abandon Christianity in order to marry her. Harrington, of course, manages to meet her criteria.
Most students today are highly disappointed by Edgeworth's conclusion, but such disappointment can lead to a very productive class discussion. As in Thelwall's revelation of Seraphina's true English heritage, the tensions inherent to an interracial marriage are dissolved at the novel's close, and so is the opportunity for a final, grand demonstration of the groundlessness of racial prejudice. Rachel Mordecai also expressed disappointment that Berenice was not allowed to stand as a constructive example of a young Jewish woman. Edgeworth's reason for ending the novel as she does may have stemmed from an attempt to align Harrington with a similar revelation at the conclusion of Lessing's Nathan the Wise that makes a bold statement regarding the arbitrariness of racial and religious distinctions amongst not only Jews and Christians, but Muslims as well. The conclusion of Harrington, however, is admittedly far less successful. In making Berenice a Christian, Edgeworth dramatically weakens her attempt to illustrate that human beings of all races embody the same virtues. Under English tradition, children of mixed Protestant and Catholic marriages were raised with the daughters following the mother's religion and sons following the father's. Thus, the daughters of a Jewish Berenice would themselves presumably be Jewish by English tradition, repeating their mother's social status. Additionally, under Jewish law, any child of a Jewish mother would be by birth a Jew, raising problems for Harrington's male heirs as well despite the counter-system of English primogeniture. A product of her times, Edgeworth can envision an interracial marriage, but she cannot quite make the leap to realize it in 1817.
Like The Daughter of Adoption, Harrington disappoints in the final analysis. Nevertheless, both Thelwall and Edgeworth have at the very least taken a step forward in asking their readers to question common prejudices about racial difference. Moreover, despite its ending, Harrington is perhaps the first British novel wholly intended to work towards dispelling racism. Berenice's final words make Edgeworth's intentions clear. When Mr. Montenero insists that the family's enemies be forgiven, Harrington's father praises his new in-law, echoing words spoken of such characters as Cumberland's Sheva and Walker's Bensadi in saying that "none but a good Christian could do this!" Berenice then answers him with the simple question "and why not a good Jew?" (III, 331).
The texts included in this course syllabus on race in early Romantic-period reformist literature clearly demonstrate a few early hints of an awareness that the novel might be used to foster more humane relations between peoples of varying heritages and backgrounds. Some students may insist, rightly, that few of these novels display an author's complete freedom from long-held cultural stereotypes. Indeed, as Judith Page has written of sympathetic texts on Judaism in the period, even the most progressive of these works "cannot quite contain [their] own representations." Page is right to state that "revolutions in politics and culture do not necessarily develop evenly." Nevertheless, the anxieties and shifting attitudes towards race and the disenfranchised that students will readily recognize in these novels give evidence of an awakening social conscience and of the roots of social change that would continue to develop in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In my experience, the troubled, conflicted, and even disturbing treatments of race in the reformist fiction of the revolutionary decade stimulate dynamic classroom discussions of race during this period and afterwards—discussions with a clear relevance to the ways in which Western culture continues to perceive and respond to race and racial difference today.
Basker, James, ed. Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005.
Beaufort, John, L.L.D. [John Thelwall]. The Daughter of Adoption; A Tale of Modern Times. 4 vols. London: R. Phillips, 1801. Available on microfiche in the Corvey Project at Sheffield Hallam University.
Behn, Aphra. Oroonoko. Ed. Catherine Gallagher. Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000.
Cumberland, Richard. The Plays of Richard Cumberland. Ed. Roberta F. S. Borkat. 6 vols. New York: Garland, 1982.
Earle, William. Obi; or, the History of Three-fingered Jack. Ed. Srinivas Aravamudan. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2005.
Edgeworth, Maria. Belinda. Ed. Kathryn J. Kirkpatrick. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 1994.
---. Harrington. Ed. Susan Manly. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2004.
---. The Novels and Selected Works of Maria Edgeworth. Gen. Ed. Marilyn Butler. 12 vols. London: Pickering and Chatto, 1999-2003.
Equiano, Olaudah. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. Ed. Angelo Costanzo. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 2004.
Fawcett, James. Obi, A Serio-Pantomime. Ed. Charles Rzepka. Obi: A Romantic Circles Praxis Volume (August 2002). Available: http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/obi
Hays, Mary and Amelia Opie. Memoirs of Emma Courtney and Adeline Mowbray; or the Mother and Daughter. Ed. Miriam Wallace. Glen Allen, VA: College Publishing, 2004.
Holcroft, Thomas. Memoirs of Bryan Perdue. 3 vols. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees, and Orme, 1805. Repr. New York and London: Garland, 1979.
---. The Novels and Selected Plays of Thomas Holcroft. Gen. Ed. W. M. Verhoeven. 5 vols. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2007.
Mackenzie, Anna Maria. Slavery: Or, The Times. 2 vols. London: G. G. J. and J. Robinsons and J. Dennis, 1792. Available on Thomson Gale's Eighteenth-Century Collections Online database (ECCO).
Obi, A Melo-drama in Two Acts. Ed. Charles Rzepka. Obi: A Romantic Circles Praxis Volume (August 2002). Available: http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/obi
Opie, Amelia. Adeline Mowbray, or The Mother and Daughter. Ed. Shelley King and John B. Pierce. Oxford: Oxford World's Classics, 1999.
Smith, Charlotte. The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer. 3 vols. London: Sampson Low, 1800. Repr. Poole, UK and New York: Woodstock Books, 1995.
---. The Works of Charlotte Smith. Gen. Ed. Stuart Curran. 14 vols. London: Pickering and Chatto, 2005-2007.
Walker, George. Theodore Cyphon: or, The Benevolent Jew. 3 vols. London: B. Crosby, 1796. Available on Thomson Gale's Eighteenth-Century Collections Online database (ECCO).
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Boulukos, George E. "Maria Edgeworth's 'Grateful Negro' and the Sentimental Argument for Slavery." Eighteenth-Century Life 23.1 (February 1999): 12-29.
Carey, Brycchan. British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment, and Slavery, 1760-1807. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
Cone, Carl B. The English Jacobins: Reformers in Late 18th Century England. New York: Scribners, 1968.
Dickinson, H.T. British Radicalism and the French Revolution, 1789-1815. Oxford: Blackwell, 1985.
Eberle, Roxanne. "Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray: Diverting the Libertine Gaze; or, the Vindication of a Fallen Woman." Studies in the Novel 26.2 (Summer 1994) 121-52.
Ellis, Markman. The Politics of Sensibility: Race, Gender and Commerce in the Sentimental Novel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.
Endelman, Todd M. The Jews of Britain, 1656 to 2000. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
---. The Jews of Georgian England 1714-1830. Philadelphia: Jewish Publication Society of America, 1979. Repr. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999.
Fairchild, Hoxie Neale. The Noble Savage: A Study in Romantic Naturalism. New York: Russell and Russell, 1958.
Ferguson, Moira. Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834. London and New York: Routledge, 1992.
Greenfield, Susan C. "'Abroad and at Home': Sexual Ambiguity, Miscegenation, and Colonial Boundaries in Edgeworth's Belinda." PMLA 112.2 (March 1997): 214-28.
---. Mothering Daughters: Novels and the Politics of Family Romance, Frances Burney to Jane Austen. Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2002.
Grenby, M. O. "Politicised Fiction in Britain 1790-1810: An Annotated Checklist." The European English Messenger 9.2 (Autumn 2000): 47-53.
Harvey, Alison. "West Indian Obeah and English 'Obee': Race, Femininity, and Questions of Colonial Consolidation in Maria Edgeworth's Belinda." New Essays on Maria Edgeworth. Ed. Julie Nash. Aldershot and Burlington: Ashgate, 2006. 1-29.
Hoad, Neville. "Maria Edgeworth's Harrington: The Price of Sympathetic Representation." British Romanticism and the Jews: History, Culture, Literature. Ed. Sheila A. Spector. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2002. 121-38.
Howard, Carol. "' The Story of the Pineapple': Sentimental Abolitionism and Moral Motherhood in Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray." Studies in the Novel 30.3 (Fall 1998): 355-76.
Kelly, Gary. "Amelia Opie, Lady Caroline Lamb, and Maria Edgeworth: Official and Unofficial Ideology." ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature 12.4 (Oct 1981): 3-24.
---. "Discharging Debts: The Moral Economy of Amelia Opie's Fiction." The Wordsworth Circle 11 (1980): 198-203.
---. The English Jacobin Novel 1780-1805. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976.
---. Women, Writing, and Revolution, 1790-1827. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993.
Kirkpatrick, Kathryn. "'Gentlemen Have Horrors Upon This Subject': West Indian Suitors in Maria Edgeworth's Belinda." Eighteenth-Century Fiction 5.4 (July 1993): 331-48.
Lee, Debbie. Slavery and the Romantic Imagination. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2002.
McCann, Andrew. "Conjugal Love and the Enlightenment Subject: The Colonial Context of Non-Identity in Maria Edgeworth's Belinda." Novel 30.1 (Fall 1996): 56-77.
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Nussbaum, Felicity A. The Limits of the Human: Fictions of Anomaly, Race, and Gender in the Long Eighteenth Century. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
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Perera, Suvendrini. Reaches of Empire: The English Novel from Edgeworth to Dickens. New York: Columbia University Press, 1991.
Ragussis, Michael. Figures of Conversion: "The Jewish Question" & English National Identity. Durham and London: Duke University Press, 1995.
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Rosenberg, Edgar. From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes in English Fiction. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960.
Rzepka, Charles, ed. Obi: A Romantic Circles Praxis Volume (August 2002). http://www.rc.umd.edu/praxis/obi.
Scrivener, Michael. Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall and Jacobin Writing. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2001.
Shyllon, Folarin. Black People in Britain 1555-1833. London: Published for the Institute of Race Relations, London, by Oxford University Press, 1977.
Shyllon, F. O. Black Slaves in Britain. London and New York: Published for the Institute of Race Relations, London, by Oxford University Press, 1974.
Spector, Sheila A., ed. The Jews and British Romanticism: Politics, Religion, Culture. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
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Sussman, Charlotte. Consuming Anxieties: Consumer Protest, Gender, and British Slavery, 1713-1833. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000.
Sypher, Wylie. "The African Prince in London." Journal of the History of Ideas 2.2 (April 1941):237-47.
---. Guinea's Captive Kings: British Anti-Slavery Literature of the XVIIIth Century. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1942; Repr. New York: Octagon Books, 1969.
---. "The West-Indian as a 'Character' in the Eighteenth Century." Studies in Philology 36 (1939): 503-20.
Ty, Eleanor. Empowering the Feminine: The Narratives of Mary Robinson, Jane West, and Amelia Opie, 1796-1812. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998.
Wheeler, Roxann. The Complexion of Race: Categories of Difference in Eighteenth-Century British Culture. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000.
Wolfe, Stephen F. "'Are Such Things Done on Albion's Shore?' The Discourses of Slavery in the Rhetoric of English Jacobin Writers." Nordlit 6 (1999):161-73.
---. "'The Bloody Writing is for ever torn': Inscribing Slavery in the 1790s." Revolutions and Watersheds: Transatlantic Dialogues 1775-1815. Ed. W. M. Verhoeven and Beth Dolan Kautz. Amsterdam and Atlanta: Rodopi, 1999. 169-90.
Wright, Eamon. British Women Writers and Race, 1788-1818: Narrations of Modernity. Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
 See Carl B. Cone, The English Jacobins, iii. For a comprehensive definition of the origin and implications of the term "Jacobin" and "Jacobinism" in the 1790s, see H. T. Dickinson, British Radicalism and the French Revolution, 1-24; and Michael Scrivener, Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall and Jacobin Writing, 21-30.
 Cone, The English Jacobins, v.
 Aphra Behn, Oroonoko, ed. Catherine Gallagher (Boston and New York: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2000), 3.
 See the appended syllabus for other examples of abolitionist poetry that can be used effectively in the undergraduate classroom. Teachers may also find it helpful to consult James Basker's Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810.
 See John Bugg's essay on Equiano's book tour.
 Constanzo provides a helpful introduction to this controversy in the Introduction to his edition of the Interesting Narrative, 29-30.
 See Charles Rzepka's Romantic Circles Praxis Series volume on Obi.
 See Rzepka, Introduction to Obi, Romantic Circles Praxis Series, para. 6.
 For thorough treatments of the ways in which the rhetoric of sensibility was used across a wide spectrum of genres in the abolitionist debate in late eighteenth-century Britain, see Markman Ellis, The Politics of Sensibility and Brycchan Carey, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility.
 For a catalogue of such accounts see Wylie Sypher, "The African Prince in London" and Folarin Shyllon, Black People in Britain, 45-66.
 For accounts of this incident see The Gentleman's Magazine XIX (1749):89-90, and The London Magazine XVIII (1749): 94; cited by Folarin Shyllon, Black People in Britain, 46. See also Nussbaum, The Limits of the Human, 189-90.
 Teachers who are interested in providing students with excerpts from Slavery might do well to choose to work with merely the first four sections of the novel's first volume, which include three letters between Adolphus's father and his English guardian, and his guardian's journal of Adolphus's reactions while traveling to England via Jamaica (vol. I, 1-72). In addition, Adolphus's disapproval of English social conventions can be found in Letter 14, "To Miss St Leger from Adolphus," vol. I, 143-53. Adolphus attends a performance of Oroonoko in vol. I, 190.
 For analysis of this episode, see Anne Mellor "Am I Not a Woman, and a Sister?," 322-23, and Mothers of the Nation, 105; and Susan Greenfield, Mothering Daughters, 134-44.
 "'The Story of the Pineapple': Sentimental Abolitionism and Moral Motherhood in Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray," 356.
 "Amelia Opie's Adeline Mowbray: Diverting the Libertine Gaze," 142.
 Garland edition, ed. Borkat, I, 40.
 The Letters of a Solitary Wanderer, 3 vols. (London: Sampson Low, 1800; Repr. Poole, England and New York: Woodstock Books, 1995), II, 70.
 The Daughter of Adoption; A Tale of Modern Times. 4 vols. (London: R. Phillips, 1801), I, 268-69.
 Seditious Allegories, 244.
 For teachers interested in excerpting from Thelwall's novel, the passages in which Henry travels to St Domingo and experiences Creole life are found in vol. I, book iii, chapters 1-3, with Seraphina's history comprising chapter 3. Henry's rescue of Seraphina during a slave insurrection is described in detail in vol. II, book iv, chapter 1.
 "The Grateful Negro," Popular Tales, Pickering edition, XII, 59.
 See Introductory Note, "The Grateful Negro," Pickering text, XII, x; and essays by Moira Ferguson, Frances R. Botkin, and George E. Boulukos.
 "The Other's Other," 310. Spector's categories build on the work of Edgar Rosenberg in From Shylock to Svengali: Jewish Stereotypes in English Fiction (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1960), 206-33. See also Endelman, The Jews of Britain, 41-77.
 Imperfect Sympathies: Jews and Judaism in British Romantic Literature and Culture, 3-4.
 Teachers wishing to excerpt selections from Theodore Cyphon may find adequate materials for reading and classroom discussion in Walker's Preface, and in vol. I, chapters 1-6.
 Theodore Cyphon: or, The Benevolent Jew. 3 vols. (London: B. Crosby, 1796) I, 12-13.
 Imperfect Sympathies, 34.
 "Jews and Other 'Outlandish Englishmen,'" 791-92.
 Belinda, Pickering edition, II, 170.
 "Abroad and at Home," 222; see also Kathryn Kirkpatrick, "'Gentlemen Have Horrors Upon This Subject,'" 331-48; and Alison Harvey, "West Indian Obeah and English 'Obee,'" 1-29.
 "Abroad and at Home," 216.
 See Marilyn Butler, Maria Edgeworth, 494-95.
 "Abroad and at Home," 220.
 The Limits of the Human, 242.
 See Marilyn Butler, Maria Edgeworth, 494-95; Suvendrini Perera, Reaches of Empire, 15-34; and Kathryn Kirkpatrick "'Gentlemen Have Horrors,'" 331-48.
 The Limits of the Human, 19.
 Rachel Mordecai, Letter to Maria Edgeworth, 7 August 1815, published in Harrington, ed. Manly, 298.
 Harrington, ed. Manly, 298.
 Harrington, Pickering edition, ed. Marilyn Butler and Susan Manly, III, 286.
 See her letter to Edgeworth dated 28 October 1817; Harrington, ed. Manly, 301.
 See Sheila Spector, "The Other's Other," 332; Judith Page "Maria Edgeworth's Harrington," 12-13, and Imperfect Sympathies, 156-58; and Michael Ragussis, "Representation, Conversion, and Literary Form," 132-43, and Figures of Conversion, 77-88.
 Imperfect Sympathies, 3.
 Imperfect Sympathies, 3.