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Empire of Neglect Christopher Taylor

Empire of Neglect By Christopher Taylor

Empire of Neglect by Christopher Taylor

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Christopher Taylor shows why nineteenth-century British West Indian letters were remarkably un-British by exploring how West Indians reoriented their affective, cultural, and political worlds toward the Americas in response to the liberalization of the British Empire and the resulting imperial neglect.

Empire of Neglect Summary

Empire of Neglect: The West Indies in the Wake of British Liberalism by Christopher Taylor

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.

Empire of Neglect Reviews

"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 *
"A brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed study. . . . Simply put, Empire of Neglect is a field-making book. Because it sets itself so resolutely against not only the methodological protocols, but even the typical discursive structures of work explicitly or tacitly aligned with economic liberalism, it is by no means an easy or accessible read. Rather, it insists upon the dissonance that comes with questioning the basic premises of existing Americanist and Victorianist understandings of the Atlantic and the Hemispheric discursive frames. But for that reason, this remarkable piece of scholarship rewards careful reading and rereading, and promises to gradually but inexorably shape all that comes after it." -- Martha Schoolman * Review 19 *
"Empire of Neglect is exemplary for the ways it illustrates the worlds of critique and self-fashioning that are opened when we look elsewhere and otherwise." -- Adom Getachew * Small Axe *
"In a world dominated by the competitive logic of free trade, what happens to those groups and places whose diminished profitability consigns them to feelings of abandonment and neglect? Christopher Taylor's Empire of Neglect gives that question a hefty dose of historical depth. ... His book will be of interest not only to specialists but also to anyone who is receptive to a set of sensitive reflections on the price that has been paid by any group or region that loses its centrality because the logic of market capitalism has passed it by." -- Theodore Koditschek * Victorian Studies *

About Christopher Taylor

Christopher Taylor is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Chicago.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
Part One: Managing Neglect
1. The Political Economy of Neglect 33
2. "Them Worthless Ones": Emancipatory Liberalism in Jamaica 72
Interregnum: Between Worlds
3. Imperial Abandonment and Hemispheric Alternatives 107
Part Two: Building New Worlds
4. Uncle Bolivar's Children 147
5. "A Purely 'Mercial Transaction" 187
Coda. Americas That Were and Americas to Come 229
Notes 239
Bibliography 275
Index 301

Additional information

Empire of Neglect: The West Indies in the Wake of British Liberalism by Christopher Taylor
Duke University Press
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