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A Soliloquy "Lately Spoken at the African Theatre": Race and the Public Sphere in New York City, 1821

A Soliloquy "Lately Spoken at the African Theatre": Race and the Public Sphere in New York City,... American Literature, Volume 73, Number 1, March 2001. Copyright © 2001 by Duke University Press. American Literature white superiority, whether based in racial nature or in arts of civilization. At more than one point it challenges the very coherence of racial generalization—both the false label black and the equally false white— and offers especially pointed scorn for the emergent rhetoric of whiteness. It suggests violent resistance, providing its speaker a notable opportunity for sword rattling. And it does all this, as we shall see, in a highly charged political context in which whiteness was for the first time being advanced as a condition for suffrage and other political rights in New York. If it is true that the monologue was ‘‘[l]ately spoken at the African Theatre’’ in the fall of 1821, then its timing and its delivery could hardly have been more dramatic. The text of ‘‘Soliloquy’’ follows. The remainder of this essay will introduce the text rather than provide an extensive interpretation. It will turn out, however, that some of the mysteries surrounding its publication raise difficult interpretive questions. Soliloquy of a Maroon Chief in Jamaica (Lately spoken at the African Theatre.) Are we the links ’twixt http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Literature Duke University Press

A Soliloquy "Lately Spoken at the African Theatre": Race and the Public Sphere in New York City, 1821

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2001 by Duke University Press
ISSN
0002-9831
eISSN
1527-2117
DOI
10.1215/00029831-73-1-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

American Literature, Volume 73, Number 1, March 2001. Copyright © 2001 by Duke University Press. American Literature white superiority, whether based in racial nature or in arts of civilization. At more than one point it challenges the very coherence of racial generalization—both the false label black and the equally false white— and offers especially pointed scorn for the emergent rhetoric of whiteness. It suggests violent resistance, providing its speaker a notable opportunity for sword rattling. And it does all this, as we shall see, in a highly charged political context in which whiteness was for the first time being advanced as a condition for suffrage and other political rights in New York. If it is true that the monologue was ‘‘[l]ately spoken at the African Theatre’’ in the fall of 1821, then its timing and its delivery could hardly have been more dramatic. The text of ‘‘Soliloquy’’ follows. The remainder of this essay will introduce the text rather than provide an extensive interpretation. It will turn out, however, that some of the mysteries surrounding its publication raise difficult interpretive questions. Soliloquy of a Maroon Chief in Jamaica (Lately spoken at the African Theatre.) Are we the links ’twixt

Journal

American LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2001

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