Audrey Fisch's study, first published in 2000, examines the circulation within England of the people and ideas of the black Abolitionist campaign. During the 1850s, African-Americans and others active in the campaign to abolish slavery, journeyed to England to present the slave experience and rouse opposition to American slavery. By focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, an anonymous sequel to that novel, Uncle Tom in England, and John Brown's Slave Life in Georgia, and the lecture tours of free blacks and ex-slaves, Fisch follows the discourse of American abolitionism as it moved across the Atlantic and was reshaped by domestic Victorian debates about popular culture and taste, the worker versus the slave, popular education, and working class self-improvement. Despite its popular appeal, she claims, the African-American abolitionist campaign actually re-energised English nationalism. This book will be of interest to students of African-American literature, and nineteenth-century American and English literature.
What are we to make of the Victorians' fascination with collecting? What effect did their encounters with the curious, exotic and downright odd have on Victorian writers and their works? The essays in this collection take up these questions by examining the phenomenon of bric-a-brac in Victorian society. While recent studies have attempted to separate bric-a-brac out into separate categories, thus obscuring the term's identification with oddity, the contributors to Literary Bric-a-Brac explore sites of unusual concurrence (museums, the home, galleries, private collections, auction houses) and the way in which bric-a-brac brought the alien into everyday settings, the past into the present and the wild into the domestic. Of central importance are how commercial exchange, buying and selling and the meeting of poverty and wealth underwrite the notion of bric-a-brac. Individual chapters analyse the work of writers as different as Edward Lear and John Henry Newman, Robert Browning and George Eliot, Charles Dickens and Lewis Carroll. The themes and objects examined are equally diverse, ranging from the grandiose and flamboyant to the apparently humdrum and inconsequential. As they hone in on how and why the 'things' of Victorian literature and culture are by turns moral, social, political, sexual or simply nonsensical, the essays shed light on a dizzying array of topics and objects that include class and capitalism, the occult and the sacraments, Darwinism and dandyism, umbrellas, textiles, the Philosopher's Stone, and even doornails.