Ancient Slavery and Abolition
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Ancient Slavery and Abolition : From Hobbes to Hollywood

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A pathbreaking study of the role played by ancient Greek and Roman sources and voices in the struggle to abolish transatlantic slavery and in representations of that struggle in the twentieth century. Thirteen essays by an interdisciplinary team of specialists from three continents, led by the Centre for the Reception of Greece and Rome at Royal Holloway University of London, ask how both critics and defenders of slavery in media ranging from parliamentary speeches to poetry, fiction, drama, and cinema have summoned the ghosts of the ancient Spartans, Homer, Aristotle, Aeschylus, Pliny, Spartacus, and Prometheus to support their arguments.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 528 pages
  • 144.78 x 218.44 x 30.48mm | 793.78g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 34 in-text illustrations
  • 0199574677
  • 9780199574674
  • 1,756,019

About Justine McConnell

Edith Hall is Research Professor, Royal Holloway University of London. Richard Alston is Professor of Roman History, Royal Holloway University of London. Edith Hall is Research Professor, Royal Holloway University of London Justine McConnell is Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Northwestern University.

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Review quote

In general, by its range of topics and insightful analysis of different sources, the book will surely give new impetus to reception studies. Fabio Duarte Joly, Classical Journal

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Table of contents

1. Introduction: 'A Valuable Lesson' ; 2. The Good Master: Pliny, Hobbes, and the Nature of Freedom ; 3. Appropriations of Spartan Helotage in British Antislavery Debates of the 1790s ; 4. The Influence of Classical Ideas on the Anti-Slavery Debate at the Cape of Good Hope, South Africa (1795-1834) ; 5. A Stronger Muse: Classical Influences on Eighteenth-Century Abolitionist Poetry ; 6. The Politics of Classicism in the Poetry of Phillis Wheatley ; 7. Between Victimhood and Agency: Nydia the Slave in Bulwer's 'The Last Days of Pompeii' ; 8. The Problem with Prometheus: Myth, Abolition, and Radicalism ; 9. Recollecting Aristotle: Proslavery Thought in Antebellum America and the Argument of Politics Book I ; 10. The Auctoritas of Antiquity: Debating Slavery through Classical Exempla in the Antebellum USA ; 11. Yankee She-Men and Octoroon Electra: Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve on Slavery, Race, and Abolition ; 12. Universal Slave Revolts: C.L.R. James' use of Classical Literature in 'The Black Jacobins' ; 13. Eumaeus and Eurycleia in the Deep South: Odyssean Slavery in 'Sommersby' ; Postscript: Slavery, Abolition, Modernity, and the Past

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