British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment and Slavery, 1760-1807

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility argues that participants in the late eighteenth-century slavery debate developed a distinct sentimental rhetoric, using the language of the heart to powerful effect in the most important political and humanitarian battle of the time. Carey examines both familiar and unfamiliar texts, including poetry by Thomas Day, Hannah More, and William Cowper, novels by Sarah Scott, Henry Mackenzie, and Thomas Day, life writing by Ignatius Sancho, Olaudah Equiano, and Ottobah Cugoano, and political writing by James Ramsay, Thomas Clarkson and Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Carey balances his readings of these texts by recovering a sense of the abolition debate as it was played out in newspapers and the periodical press, as well as in reports of parliamentary debate and celebrated trials. Throughout, Carey shows that slave-owners and abolitionists alike made strategic use of the rhetoric of sensibility in the hope of influencing a reading public thoroughly immersed in the ‘cult of feeling’.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages240
ISBN (Electronic)9780230501621
ISBN (Print)9781403946263, 9781349523498
Publication statusPublished - 19 Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NamePalgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism and Cultures of Print

Cite this