Dark Victorians by Vanessa D. Dickerson

By Vanessa D. Dickerson

Dark Victorians illuminates the cross-cultural affects among white Britons and black american citizens throughout the Victorian age. In conscientiously interpreting literature and shuttle narratives by means of Ida B. Wells, Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Carlyle, W.E.B. Du Bois, and others, Vanessa D. Dickerson finds the profound political, racial, and rhetorical exchanges among the teams. From the nineteenth-century black nationalist David Walker, who suggested emigrating African american citizens to show to England, to the twentieth-century author Maya Angelou, who recollects how these she knew in her youth aspired to Victorian rules of behavior, black american citizens have always embraced Victorian England. At a time while students of black experiences are exploring the kinfolk among diasporic blacks, and postcolonialists are taking imperialism to job, Dickerson considers how Britons negotiated their aid of African american citizens with the controlling regulations they used to control a starting to be empire of usually dark-skinned peoples, and the way philanthropic and abolitionist Victorian discourses motivated black identification, prejudice, and racism in America.

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Curse this land / Ye blessed in freedom’s” name. The tensions that will not permit complete identification persist. Though the runaway is also a pilgrim for freedom, her pilgrimage can never completely resemble that of the Europeans. Where they have blessed, she needs must curse. The soul movements of the pilgrims are “proud and slow” to survive, but hers must be furtive and fast: “I have gasped and run / All night long from the whips of one / Who in your names works sin and woe! (ll. 12–14).

Slaves had little to lose; however, “they did fear suffering, and suffering was hanging like a sword of Damocles always above their heads” (PopeHennessy 196–97). Fanny Kemble had great compassion and pity for those beings whose lives so powerfully determined the quality of her own: “with shame and grief of heart I say it, by their unpaid labour I live—their nakedness clothes me, and their heavy toil maintains me in luxurious idleness” (Kemble 73).  . indeed, so intense in me is the sense of injury they receive from me and mine, that I should scarce dare refuse them the very clothes from my back, or food from my plate, if they asked me for it” (Kemble 73–74).

After the resounding failure of the bazaar she had finally opened in Cincinnati, Trollope, upon her return to London, would publish Domestic Manners in what James Mooney calls “the face of a squalor and deprivation that she was never again to know” (xii, xiii). Although money was one of the enticements for Trollope and her children’s three-and-a-half-year residence in the United States, another had been a striking young idealist and friend, Scotswoman Fanny Wright, who not only encouraged Trollope’s visit to a country she praised mightily, but who also accompanied Trollope and her children across the waters.

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