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Title:Writing Resistance: The Politics and Poetics of British Women's Antislavery Verse, 1785--1865
Author(s):Walker, Marilyn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Burton, Antoinette M.; Markley, Robert
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:Writing Resistance: The Politics and Poetics of British Women's Antislavery Verse, 1785-1865 explores the connection between British women's abolitionist poetry and legislation on the slave trade and slavery. This nexus between literature and the law shows that authorship was an early vehicle for women to engage in public discourse. In four chapters, Writing Resistance chronicles a transformative tradition in which women simultaneously advocated for slaves and themselves to combat the double bind of racism and sexism. In Chapter One, I compare the sentimental responses of Hannah More and Ann C. Yearsley to the Dolben Bill (1788). Their disparate compositions revealed volumes about their contentious relationship and the class tensions in the late eighteenth century. In my second chapter, with the backdrop of Wilberforce's 1791 parliamentary proposal, I examine the sentimental and neoclassical outrage of Anna Letitia Barbauld and Helen Maria Williams. In Chapter Three, I present a comparative study of a slave woman and her white abolitionist predecessors. This discussion juxtaposes the simplicity of Mary Prince's prose with the elevated verse of writers such as Amelia Opie and Hannah More. My final chapter analyzes the evolution the British tradition to the United States of America. Close reading the verse of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, my dissertation shows the connections between the turmoil of an antebellum America to the numerous relationship bonds in Browning's antislavery poem. Although British women were disenfranchised, liberation lyrics provided a semblance of freedom for the woman writer.
Issue Date:2008
Description:226 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3314929
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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