Clutching My Pearls is my ongoing blog series about my take on Jane Austen’s beliefs and ideas, as based on her novels. I’ve also been blogging about now-obscure female authors of the long 18th century. For more, click "Authoresses" on the menu at right. Click here for the first in the series.
How about looking at an 1812 novel which actually has an enslaved person as the titular character? Yamboo's anti-slavery message is far more explicit than Mansfield Park and serves as yet another refutation of the notion that authors, particularly women authors, couldn't talk about slavery back then.
Leaving aside the literary merits of the book and focusing on its message, we can say this in favour of Yamboo:
- The novel strongly asserts the titular character’s humanity.
- It confronts the issues of racial as well as class prejudice.
- Yamboo is portrayed as having agency; that is, he acts and is not merely acted upon...