‘The Poetics of Radical Abolitionism: Ann Yearsley’s Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade’

Carey, Brycchan (2015) ‘The Poetics of Radical Abolitionism: Ann Yearsley’s Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade’. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 34 (1). pp. 89-105. ISSN 0732-7730

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Abstract

This article re-examines Ann Yearsley’s Poem on the Inhumanity of the Slave Trade (1788) and argues that excessive attention to the relationship between Yearsley and her former patron Hannah More has obscured the extent to which Yearsley was working independently by 1788, albeit influenced by the burgeoning literature of antislavery. The article shows how interest in the More-Yearsley rivalry has been expressed in critical literature and biography from the 1930s to the present day, generally in the form of compare-and-contrast close readings of both poems in which Yearsley’s poetic vision is subordinated to More’s. It then provides a close reading of Yearsley’s poem to show how it is in dialogue with a range of antislavery verse, including poems by Thomas Chatterton, John Bicknell and Thomas Day, William Cowper, and William Roscoe. The article concludes with an assessment of More’s radical abolitionism and the suggestion that Yearsley’s influence, as well as her influences, be the subject of future study.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q300 English studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Humanities
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Brycchan Carey
Date Deposited: 17 Nov 2016 12:20
Last Modified: 09 May 2017 16:38
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/28562

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