By Helena Woodard
The eighteenth century used to be a time of significant cultural switch in Britain. It was once a interval marked via expeditions to the hot international, Africa, and the Orient, and those voyages have been mirrored within the trip literature of the period. It used to be additionally a interval during which seventeenth-century empiricism and the medical strategy turned dominant, and during which society turned more and more secular. basic to the eighteenth-century worldview used to be the suggestion of the nice Chain of Being, within which all creatures and their author stood in a hierarchical dating with each other. The years from 1660 to 1833 witnessed either Britain's participation in slavery and the appropriation of the good Chain of Being through social anthropologists and political leaders. With the increase of the slave exchange, blacks have been dropped at Britain opposed to their will, the place they have been enslaved. while, intellectuals of the interval attempted to put those slaves in the hierarchical body supplied by way of the nice Chain of Being.
The presence of slavery in Britain aroused a lot debate between blacks and whites alike, and the literature of the eighteenth century displays that discuss. This e-book examines representations of blacks in eighteenth-century British literature to light up the discussions approximately race in the course of that interval. the quantity starts with a dialogue of Alexander Pope's popularization of the good Chain of Being in his Essay on Man, which argued the common rating of humanity and which supplied an highbrow beginning for slavery. It then examines the works of numerous white canonical writers, together with Defoe, Addison and Steele, quick, and Sterne, to determine how blacks are portrayed of their works. the amount additionally examines works through African-British writers, comparable to James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw and Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, who reveal exclusionary practices between a few theologians; Ignatius Sancho, whose Letters convey how slaves have been taught to be thankful, and the way these missing gratitude have been thought of inhuman; and Olaudah Equiano, who exhibits how racial hierarchies functionality as a literary trope, really in trip literature. the ultimate bankruptcy, on The historical past of Mary Prince, examines the interplay of race and gender.
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Additional resources for African-British Writings in the Eighteenth Century: The Politics of Race and Reason (Contributions to the Study of World Literature)
See Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, vol. 9 of 13 vols. in The Works of Francis Bacon, ed. James Spedding et al. (Boston: Taggard and Thomp- 22 African-British Writings in the Eighteenth Century son, 1864), book 5. ch. 2, 64; republished by Scholarly Press, St. Clair Shores, MI. The World's Great Classics Colonial Press version of Bacon's famous observation reads, "It is no wonder that the discovery and advancement of arts hath made no greater progress, when the art of inventing and discovering the sciences remains hitherto unknown" (Book 5.
Pope heavily influenced the writings of Philis13 Wheatley and Ignatius Sancho, black writers whom I examine in the course of this study. And yet, in justifying the ways of God to humanity in the Essay on Man, Pope betrays an epistemological investment in ideas which are historically steeped in racial mythology: the missing links idea, the ennobled or so-called primitive being myth, and the individual's intellectual capacity with particular allusions to the Native American. In a letter to Swift, Pope describes the Essay on Man as a project designed "to make mankind look upon this life with comfort and pleasure, and put morality in good humour.
What no eye can see, / No glass can reach! —On superior pow'rs / Were we to press, inferior might on ours: / Or in the full creation leave a void" (I. 22 In denying that happiness derives from wealth, rank, or social status, Pope is able to justify inequities under the guise of universal order: the sacrifice of some (the part) promotes the good of all (the whole) in a system that finite human intelligence cannot comprehend. He concludes that "ORDER is Heav'n's first law; and this confest, / Some are, and must be, greater than the rest, / More rich, more wise; but who infers from hence / That such are happier, shocks all common sense" (IV.