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Look Inside Caribbean Culture and British Fiction in the Atlantic World, 1780–1870

Caribbean Culture and British Fiction in the Atlantic World, 1780–1870

$41.99 (C)

Part of Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture

  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521188715

$ 41.99 (C)
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About the Authors
  • Tim Watson challenges the idea that Caribbean colonies in the nineteenth century were outposts of empire easily relegated to the realm of tropical romance while the real story took place in Britain. Analyzing pamphlets, newspapers, estate papers, trial transcripts, and missionary correspondence, this book recovers stories of ordinary West Indians, enslaved and free, as they made places for themselves in the empire and the Atlantic world, from the time of sugar tycoon Simon Taylor to the perspective of Samuel Ringgold Ward, African American eyewitness to the 1865 Morant Bay rebellion. With readings of Maria Edgeworth and George Eliot, the book argues that the Caribbean occupied a prominent place in the development of English realism.  However, Watson shows too that we must sometimes turn to imperial romance - which made protagonists of rebels and religious leaders, as in Hamel, the Obeah Man (1827) - to understand the realities of Caribbean cultural life.

    • Recovers the narratives of ordinary Jamaicans and travelling African Americans at a time of crucial cultural change
    • Shows the interrelationship of British and Caribbean narratives before and after the British abolition of slavery
    • Analyzes wide range of literary, cultural and historical materials from Britain, USA and the Caribbean
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "Watson admirably negotiates between historical methodologies and literary criticism...In a move that nicely foregrounds the transatlantic dimension of his study, [he] concludes with an epilogue describing the transitional power relations in the Caribbean during the late nineteenth century....[he] ends his fine study with a reminder of the crucial role that Jamaica played in the politics of the Caribbean, Britain, and even the United States during the period examined in his book."
    -Susan Hall, H-Net Reviews. July, 2011

    "...Watson's book makes an impressive contribution to scholarship on these works."
    -Susan Hall,Cameron University

    "Watson’s study thus eloquently heeds its own caution: instead of reproducing the paranoid fantasies of white Creole slave masters and metropolitan abolitionists alike who saw slave conspiracies at every turn, scholars might limn a more realistic and less romantic—and thus balanced—interpretation of the mutually constitutive dynamic between Caribbean culture and British fiction across the nineteenth-century Atlantic world."
    -Sean X. Goudie,Pennsylvania State University

    "...some may argue against his reliance on imperial archives, he makes a commendable effort to read them against the grain and fill in some of the historical gaps that have hitherto been ignored."
    -CHANDANI PATEL,University of Chicago

    "While his book is part of the Cambridge Studies in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture series, Watson goes on to provide as much if not more a history of the nineteenth-century Caribbean, with an impressive immersion in colonial documents, missionary archives, local newspapers, and pamphlets to capture the quotidian details of a world in transformation."
    -John M. Picker,Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521188715
    • length: 286 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: Realism and romance in the nineteenth-century Caribbean
    1. Creole realism and metropolitan humanitarianism
    2. Caribbean romance and subaltern history
    3. 'This fruitful matrix of curses': the interesting narrative of the life of Samuel Ringgold Ward
    4. Jamaica, genealogy, George Eliot: inheriting the empire after Morant Bay
    Epilogue: 'And the sword will come from America'.

  • Author

    Tim Watson, University of Miami

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