English Abolitionist Literature of the Nineteenth Century Criticism: Poetry - Essay

Alan Richardson (essay date spring 1990)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Richardson, Alan. “Colonialism, Race, and Lyric Irony in Blake's ‘The Little Black Boy.’” Papers on Language and Literature 26, no. 2 (spring 1990): 233-48.

[In the following essay, Richardson contends that William Blake's poem “The Little Black Boy” cannot simply be categorized as either a fine abolitionist poem or an example of latent racism in English antislavery literature. Rather, the critic suggests that Blake intended to critique English mass education while also offering children and adults an alternative, more positive depiction of Africa than was typical of the age.]

Blake's “The Little Black Boy” offers a particularly rich site for...

(The entire section is 5992 words.)

D. L. Macdonald (essay date winter 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Macdonald, D. L. “Pre-Romantic and Romantic Abolitionism: Cowper and Blake.” European Romantic Review 4, no. 2 (winter 1994): 163-82.

[In the following essay, Macdonald compares the antislavery poetry of William Cowper and William Blake to highlight the differences in pre-Romantic and Romantic literary strategies.]

Most historians now accept that the abolition of the Atlantic slave trade and the emancipation of the West Indian slaves were not (as Eric Williams famously argued) simply the inevitable results of economic processes, but the outcome of a political struggle (Walvin, Slaves 93-96). The struggle began in the mid-eighteenth century, when many...

(The entire section is 7718 words.)