Following the publication of Adam Smith's The Wealth of Nations, nineteenth-century liberal economic thinkers insisted that a globally hegemonic Britain would profit only by abandoning the formal empire. British West Indians across the divides of race and class understood that, far from signaling an invitation to nationalist independence, this liberal economic discourse inaugurated a policy of imperial "neglect"-a way of ignoring the ties that obligated Britain to sustain the worlds of the empire's distant fellow subjects. In Empire of Neglect Christopher Taylor examines this neglect's cultural and literary ramifications, tracing how nineteenth-century British West Indians reoriented their affective, cultural, and political worlds toward the Americas as a response to the liberalization of the British Empire. Analyzing a wide array of sources, from plantation correspondence, political economy treatises, and novels to newspapers, socialist programs, and memoirs, Taylor shows how the Americas came to serve as a real and figurative site at which abandoned West Indians sought to imagine and invent postliberal forms of political subjecthood.
Publisher: Duke University Press
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 454 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
"Dexterously brings together a range of long-neglected texts and voices. . . . Empire of Neglect fruitfully adds to critical conversations about shifts in late coloniality in the long nineteenth century and will interest Americanists working in a variety of period subfields." -- Duncan Faherty * American Literary History *
"In Empire of Neglect, Christopher Taylor presents a compelling argument that free trade undermined not only the commercial protections the colonists expected but also the social contracts they felt they were owed. . . . Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty." -- W.T. Martin * Choice Connect *