British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment and Slavery, 1760–1807

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There are occasional book reviews, and abolitionist poetry is found inserted in several papers. Perhaps the most significant development is the intensity with which the slavery debate is conducted through readers' letters and through editorial comment - the latter comparatively rare in the eighteenth century.

Bibliographic Information

Parliament began to consider the slave trade in , and the series of debates that took place over the coming years was reported at great length in most London newspapers. Eighteenth-century parliamentary reports are not reliable, and the newspapers offer competing and conflicting accounts that must be approached with caution. Nevertheless, the sheer quantity of space allocated to reporting parliamentary debates about slavery in the years indicates a high level of public interest in the issue.


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Equally remarkable is the collapse of interest after , when the implications of the French Revolution overshadowed the slavery debate. Although both parliamentary and public debates about slavery continue to be reported, they are not given the same prominence, and the issue remains a minor one until the resurgence in abolitionist sentiment in London: W.

Flexney, London: T. Hansard, London: Verso, The classic account of the end of colonial slavery. The best recent work on the development of abolitionist thought. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, Contains in-depth analysis of the ways newspapers reported the slavery debate.

Books on slavery, abolition, and emancipation by Brycchan Carey

Oldfield, J. Manchester: Manchester University Press, Extremely useful study of abolitionist campaigning techniques. Detroit: Gale, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility argues that participants in the late eighteenth-century slavery debate developed a distinct sentimental rhetoric, using the language of the heart to powerful effect in the most important political and humanitarian battle of the time.


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  • British Abolitionism And The Rhetoric Of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment And Slavery, 1760-1807!
  • British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility.
  • Examining both familiar and unfamiliar texts, including poetry, novels, journalism, and political writing, Carey shows that salve-owners and abolitionists alike made strategic use of the rhetoric of sensibility in the hope of influencing a reading public thoroughly immersed in the 'cult of feeling'.

    It consider, and suggests answers to, the criticisms some feminist and postcolonial scholars have levelled against eighteenth-century abolitionist writings JavaScript is currently disabled, this site works much better if you enable JavaScript in your browser.

    What Ended Slavery? - Cool History

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