Formations and deformations of Empire: Maria Edgeworth and the West Indies

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Connolly, Claire
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Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism)
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This chapter trace the threads of scattered details, repeated images and occasional plot twists found in the fiction and letters of Maria Edgeworth in order to consider the scope and extent of her engagement with the West Indies across a long career. The topic of slavery makes an uncomfortable home within Edgeworth’s broader intellectual interests contexts, not least because she does not set the ownership, sale and exchange of people apart from the trade in ideas, books and goods. Furthermore, the kinds of violent improbabilities that help to form the particular texture of Edgeworth’s realism often concern seeds and plants. Within the specific scenes that flow from Edgeworth’s thinking about slavery in the context of improving debates about education and domesticity, she allows seeds, plants and gardens to sharpen and define lines of imperial connection.
Maria Edgeworth , Ireland , Slavery , Colonialism , Empire , Caribbean , Irish Romanticism , West Indies , Imperialism
Connolly, C. (2023) 'Formations and Deformations of Empire: Maria Edgeworth and the West Indies', in: O'Kane, F. and O'Neill, C. (eds)., Ireland, Slavery and the Caribbean, Manchester: Manchester University Press (Studies in Imperialism), pp. 302-320. isbn: 978-1-5261-5099-8