Mary Seacole Criticism - Essay

Sandra Pouchet Paquet (essay date winter 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Paquet, Sandra Pouchet. “The Enigma of Arrival: The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.African American Review 26, no. 4 (winter 1992): 651-63.

[In the following essay, Paquet explores Seacole's relationship to colonial England in the aftermath of slavery and how she positions herself in that society.]

The republication of The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave (1831) and The Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857) in 1987 and 1988, respectively, provides a new understanding of the constitutive relationship of autobiography to the cultural inheritance of the colonial and postcolonial...

(The entire section is 7514 words.)

Amy Robinson (essay date fall 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Robinson, Amy. “Authority and the Public Display of Identity: Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.Feminist Studies 20, no. 3 (fall 1994): 537-57.

[In the following essay, Robinson discusses how Seacole negotiates her marginal identity as a Creole woman and describes the maneuvers necessary to become a prominent member of society in Victorian England.]

Only twenty-four years after the “official” abolition of slavery in the British West Indies, Mary Seacole, “the yellow woman from Jamaica with the cholera medicine,”1 published Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands. This engaging autobiography,...

(The entire section is 9347 words.)

Cheryl Fish (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Fish, Cheryl.“Voices of Restless (Dis)continuity: The Significance of Travel for Free Black Women in the Antebellum Americas.” Women's Studies 26 (1997): 475-95.

[In the following essay, Fish explores how the mobility of Nancy Prince and Seacole, two free-born black women, helped to shape their identities and impacted the travel-narrative genre.]

Travel, with its many bourgeois associations, might be a loaded term for African Americans in that it cannot be easily evoked to talk about the experience of the Middle Passage; for that reason, bell hooks often uses the term “journey” when she writes of the geographical and psychic mobility of African...

(The entire section is 6939 words.)

Bernard McKenna (essay date spring 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: McKenna, Bernard. “‘Fancies of Exclusive Possession’: Validation and Dissociation in Mary Seacole's England and Caribbean.” Philological Quarterly 76, no. 2 (spring 1997): 219-39.

[In the following essay, McKenna analyzes the hegemony that colonizing cultures have over their conquests and the dynamic created when the colonized both accept and reject the new culture.]

The English essayist William Hazlitt spoke without optimism of travel and its potential consequences.

I am one of those who do not think that much is to be gained in point either of temper or understanding by travelling abroad. Give me the true,...

(The entire section is 8296 words.)

Catherine Judd (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Judd, Catherine. “‘A Female Ulysses’: Mary Seacole, Homeric Epic and the Trope of Heroic Nursing (1854-1857).” In Bedside Seductions: Nursing and the Victorian Imagination, 1830-1880, pp. 101-21. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1998.

[In the following essay, Judd criticizes Seacole's narrative for accepting her subject status from England. She explores Seacole's text as a Homeric epic and discusses how Seacole creates a heroic self.]

Mary Seacole's Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands (1857) is a crucial and problematic text in the canon of both Caribbean autobiography and nineteenth-century black women writers. Unlike Mary Prince's...

(The entire section is 11170 words.)

Paul Baggett (essay date 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Baggett, Paul. “Caught between Homes: Mary Seacole and the Question of Cultural Identity.” MaComère 3 (2000): 45-56.

[In the following essay, Baggett discusses the contradiction between Seacole's desire to be a part of British culture and her natural tendency toward her native Jamaican heritage.]

Recent attention paid to Caribbean literary works has highlighted the complex relationship between home and identity for the Caribbean subject. Researchers in (post)colonial and cultural studies find many of these texts especially appealing because they refuse any simple equation between cultural identification and national homeland. Antonio Benitez-Rojo's...

(The entire section is 5542 words.)

Evelyn J. Hawthorne (essay date spring 2000)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hawthorne, Evelyn J. “Self-Writing, Literary Traditions, and Post-Emancipation Identity: The Case of Mary Seacole.” Biography 23, no. 2 (spring 2000): 309-31.

[In the following essay, Hawthorne explores first-generation emancipated Caribbean subjects. Focusing on Mary Seacole's autobiography, she places the work within the ideological and literary contexts of Victorian England as well as the context of Caribbean history.]

“… unless I am allowed to tell the story of my life in my own way, I cannot tell it at all.”

Written at the height of the Victorian period, The Wonderful Adventures of...

(The entire section is 8590 words.)

Sandra Gunning (essay date summer 2001)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Gunning, Sandra. “Traveling with Her Mother's Tastes: The Negotiation of Gender, Race, and Location in Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands.Signs 26, no. 4 (summer 2001): 949-81.

[In the following essay, Gunning discusses Seacole's ability to successfully integrate herself into a wide variety of communities, as reflected in her autobiography. The critic also evaluates the different ways in which Wonderful Adventures has been appropriated by British and American scholars.]

The autobiography Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Many Lands ([1857] 1984) by Jamaican mixed-race “Creole” Mary Jane Grant Seacole...

(The entire section is 12969 words.)

Ivette Romero-Cesareo (essay date 2001)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Romero-Cesareo, Ivette. “Women Adrift: Madwomen, Matriarchs, and the Caribbean.” In Women at Sea: Travel Writing and the Margins of Caribbean Discourse, edited by Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert and Ivette Romero-Cesareo, pp. 135-60. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

[In the following excerpt, Romero-Cesareo examines Seacole's use of the role of motherhood as an ennobling and legitimizing tool in her autobiography.]

The sea, alas! It is the only place to which we can be faithful.1

—Adèle Hugo

Travel is an enterprise requiring a certain degree of camouflage. Travelers prepare for...

(The entire section is 6329 words.)