New PDF release: American Slaves in Victorian England: Abolitionist Politics

By Audrey A. Fisch

ISBN-10: 0521121655

ISBN-13: 9780521121651

Audrey Fisch's learn examines the move inside of England of the folk and concepts of the black Abolitionist crusade. via targeting Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, an nameless sequel to that novel, Uncle Tom in England, and John Brown's Slave lifestyles in Georgia, and the lecture excursions of unfastened blacks and ex-slaves, Fisch follows the discourse of yankee abolitionism because it moved around the Atlantic and was once reshaped through family Victorian debates approximately pop culture and style, the employee as opposed to the slave, renowned schooling, and dealing type self-improvement.

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Extra resources for American Slaves in Victorian England: Abolitionist Politics in Popular Literature and Culture

Sample text

Re-shaping his character and his life, Uncle Tom in England strives to defuse the transgressive potential of his predecessor's infiltration of Victorian society. The novel begins on the coast of Africa where two children of Gucongo, an African chief, are being sold with 500 other men, women, and children as war prizes to slavers who will transport the group into American slavery. Renamed Marossi and Rosetta by the slave-ship's captain, the children arrive in Charleston where they are bought by George Harris.

While Forrest Wilson has estimated that Uncle Tom's Cabin sold 165,000 copies in England in its first year of circulation (Crusader, 419), the precise circulation of Uncle Tom in England is more difficult to document. The title page of a subsequent American edition of Uncle Tom in England declares this new novel "A Book Selling Equal to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'" and informs perusers "60,000 Copies Sold - Tenth Edition" (from New York: A. D. Failing edition in the New York Historical Society). Taking into account the fact that such advertisements do not present exact historical evi33 34 American slaves in Victorian England dence, the boasted figure of 60,000 copies suggests a favorable comparison with the numbers for the "ordinary circulating-library novel" which Altick estimates sold in editions of "a thousand or 1,250 copies" and with the figures for cheap editions which Altick estimates sold in "prepublicationprinting[s] of 75,000 copies" {The English Common Reader, 264, The circulation and visibility of Uncle Tom in England is also confirmed by the number and placement of reviews (not all of high praise).

We are rendered jealous for the good name of America. (718) An open-minded, sympathetic England looks to its revolutionary brother with pride, this passage seems to suggest, not with bitterness or in ill judgment. But the emphasis, here, is as much on the quality of England, particularly the quality of England's good will for recognizing and being unthreatened by America's difference, as it is on the quality of America. Further, "exultant hopes" for "the American republic" quickly give way: America has disappointed the world by not being "a new sanctuary, provided in the providence of God, for the freedom which emperors and kings are conspiring to banish from Europe" (718).

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American Slaves in Victorian England: Abolitionist Politics in Popular Literature and Culture by Audrey A. Fisch

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