How does a contemporary society restore to its public memory a
momentous event like its own participation in transatlantic
slavery? What are the stakes of once more restoring the slave trade
to public memory? What can be learned from this history? Elizabeth
Kowaleski Wallace explores these questions in her study of
depictions and remembrances of British involvement in the slave
trade. Skillfully incorporating a range of material, Wallace
discusses and analyzes how museum exhibits, novels, television
shows, movies, and a play created and produced in Britain from 1990
to 2000 grappled with the subject of slavery.
Topics discussed include a walking tour in the former
slave-trading port of Bristol; novels by Caryl Phillips and Barry
Unsworth; a television adaptation of Jane Austen's Mansfield
Park; and a revival of Aphra Behn's Oroonoko for the
Royal Shakespeare Company. In each case, Wallace reveals how these
works and performances illuminate and obscure the history of the
slave trade and its legacy. While Wallace focuses on Britain, her
work also speaks to questions of how the United States and other
nations remember inglorious chapters from their past.
Subjects: History, Sociology, Language & Literature
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