'Monstrous perversions and lying inventions': Moses Roper's resistance to the British imagination of slavery and abolition

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter explores the complexities surrounding the representation of slavery and how white activists too often focused on black corporeal pain. It also explores Moses Roper’s interaction with Victorian print culture and how his radicalism hindered his success on the Victorian stage. The chapter analyses three newspaper articles from England, Ireland and Wales to explain how Roper’s bold denunciation of slavery invited criticism along white supremacist lines: for these white correspondents, together with some of their audiences, slavery was a brutal institution, but to trust Roper’s word alone was folly. Indeed, the paper mentions white author Harriet Martineau as a “better authority” because white abolitionists were deemed more truthful. The chapter explains Roper’s performative reactions to such press criticism and slander. It discusses some specific performative techniques Roper employed to challenge such ferocious criticism. By refusing to show Roper scars as “proof” of slavery’s violence, he points to his written and oral testimony as evidence instead.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationViolence from Slavery to #BlackLivesMatter
Subtitle of host publicationAfrican American History and Representation
EditorsAndrew Dix, Peter Templeton
PublisherRoutledge
Chapter3
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9780429342684
ISBN (Print)9780367359317, 9780367359096
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019

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