English Abolitionist Literature of the Nineteenth Century Criticism: English Abolitionist Literature And Feminism - Essay

Moira Ferguson (essay date spring 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ferguson, Moira. “British Women Writers and an Emerging Abolitionist Discourse.” Eighteenth Century: Theory and Interpretation 33, no. 1 (spring 1992): 3-23.

[In the following essay, Ferguson describes why Hannah More was chosen by London's Abolition Committee to compose a poem condemning British slavery, and how her “Slavery: A Poem” influenced subsequent depictions of Africans as powerless and passive victims in need of European guidance and support.]

Nothing in May 1789 is surely so interesting as the noble effort in asking for the abolition of the slave-trade. Nothing, I think, for centuries past, has done the nation so much...

(The entire section is 8014 words.)

Moira Ferguson (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Ferguson, Moira. “Extending Discourse and Changing Definitions.” In Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834, pp. 273-98. New York: Routledge, Chapman and Hall, 1992.

[In the following excerpt, Ferguson examines the 1831 slave narrative The History of Mary Prince: A West Indian Slave to show that Prince's language and agenda were often at odds with white female abolitionists.]


I would rather go into my grave than go back a slave to Antigua, though I wish to go back to my husband very much—very much—very much! I am much afraid my...

(The entire section is 9938 words.)

Deidre Coleman (essay date summer 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Coleman, Deidre. “Conspicuous Consumption: White Abolitionism and English Women's Protest Writing in the 1790s.” ELH 61, no. 2 (summer 1994): 341-62.

[In the following essay, Coleman argues that even as white female abolitionists in the late eighteenth century tried to connect their own subjugation to the plight of slaves, their writings tacitly created insurmountable boundaries between whites and blacks.]

In this paper I wish to examine two overlapping areas of middle-class polemic from the 1790s: white abolitionism and English women's protest writing. A certain polarization has crept into recent discussions of abolitionism, with some critics arguing that...

(The entire section is 8387 words.)

Marilyn D. Button (essay date September 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Button, Marilyn D. “Reclaiming Mrs. Frances Trollope: British Abolitionist and Feminist.” CLA Journal 38, no. 1 (September 1994): 69-86.

[In the following essay, Button discusses feminist and antislavery themes in Frances Trollope's The Life and Adventures of Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaw, which she asserts was the first English novel to attack slavery in the United States.]

In spite of recent critical attention which has convincingly demonstrated the breadth of Mrs. Frances Trollope's literary achievement, she remains confined in the contemporary popular imagination as the vitriolic narrator of Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832) and critic...

(The entire section is 5951 words.)