By Eamon Wright (auth.)
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Additional info for British Women Writers and Race, 1788–1818: Narrations of Modernity
This poses an important methodological point. The use women made of literature, given that their presence in the literary market was highly political, was highly ideological too, for it was the means by which they voiced their ontology. Through the genres of literature, notably poetry, and the novel, which was a form women colonized for over fifty years,52 women found the most accessible media through which they could obviate legal, political, economic, psychological and sexual strictures imposed upon them by society; a society which systematically closed off avenues of social, political and aesthetic representation to them.
So, what she succeeded in doing, and what Hannah More consciously avoided, Politics of Population: Empire, Slavery and Race 27 was underscoring the complexity of the relationship between what are often thought of as discrete social phenomena, ‘sex’, ‘race’ and ‘class’. Late eighteenth-century commercialism united all three in ways that emphatically valorized difference. In her second vindication, Mary Wollstonecraft, the political opposite of Hannah More, tapped into what was for her a denegation of human rights.
It is marked with beliefs and values about the economic relationship Britain, and wider Western Europe, had with Africa. ‘Does thirst of empire, does desire of fame, / (For these are specious crimes) our rage inflame? / No: sordid lust of gold their fate controls, / The basest appetite of basest souls . 27 An economic relationship was in More’s eyes inescapable. Yet while slavery was clearly condemned as an illness of the body politic, modern economic exploitation, on the other hand, was a healthy alternative, if not a remedy.
British Women Writers and Race, 1788–1818: Narrations of Modernity by Eamon Wright (auth.)