AuthorLee, Debbie Jean, 1960-
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractDuring the Romantic period, England, which then led the world in slave exports, abolished both the African slave trade and West Indian slavery, setting a trend that the Portuguese, Danish, French, Germans, and Americans would follow. Abolition, a powerful moral engine, barreled through England on the tracks of pamphlets, poetry, engravings, speeches and sermons. Abolition was clearly the moral (as well as economic and social) issue of the age. My dissertation investigates the ways in which Romantic writing emerged from and responded to the issues brought on by the slavery question. Through primary and archival research, I reconstruct not only the voices of abolition, but also of various contributing discourses such as medicine, travel, cartography, labor, and iconography. This range of sources provides the basis from which I read major Romantic poems, advancing interpretations that make clear seemingly discordant relationships, like that between Keats, slavery and voodoo; between cartography, slavery and sonnets; and between Wordsworth, slavery, and abortion. The way Romanticism is haunted by the slavery question, I argue, needs to be recovered within literary history as much as within Romantic poetry itself. My dissertation thus combines three kinds of projects: a contribution to historical reconstructions based on primary research; a contribution to knowledge of specific literary works; and a contribution to ongoing arguments about critical method.
Degree ProgramGraduate College