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The Inhospitable Muse: Locating Creole Identity in James Grainger's The Sugar-Cane

The Inhospitable Muse: Locating Creole Identity in James Grainger's The Sugar-Cane Beccie Puneet Randhawa University of British Columbia Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them, short of hanging. --Samuel Johnson on West Indian slave owners1 James Grainger's self-proclaimed "West Indian georgic," The Sugar-Cane (1764), is perhaps best remembered for the circumstances of its introduction to the high literary echelons of London, rather than for any memorable versification of Caribbean exoticism within the poem itself. In a now infamous anecdote, James Boswell records the story of the poem's private debut in the London home of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as Grainger unveils his work before such celebrated luminaries as Samuel Johnson, William Shenstone, and Thomas Percy, among others: Having talked of Dr. Grainger's Sugar Cane, I mentioned to him Mr. Langton's having told me that this poem, when read in Manuscript at Sir Joshua Reynolds', had made all the assembled wits burst into a laugh, when, after much blank-verse pomp the poet began a new paragraph thus: "Now, Muse, let's sing of rats." And what increased the ridicule was, that one of the company, who slily overlooked the reader, perceived that the word had been originally mice, and had been altered http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Eighteenth Century University of Pennsylvania Press

The Inhospitable Muse: Locating Creole Identity in James Grainger's The Sugar-Cane

The Eighteenth Century , Volume 49 (1) – Apr 26, 2008

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Publisher
University of Pennsylvania Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 Texas Tech University Press
ISSN
1935-0201
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Abstract

Beccie Puneet Randhawa University of British Columbia Sir, they are a race of convicts, and ought to be thankful for anything we allow them, short of hanging. --Samuel Johnson on West Indian slave owners1 James Grainger's self-proclaimed "West Indian georgic," The Sugar-Cane (1764), is perhaps best remembered for the circumstances of its introduction to the high literary echelons of London, rather than for any memorable versification of Caribbean exoticism within the poem itself. In a now infamous anecdote, James Boswell records the story of the poem's private debut in the London home of Sir Joshua Reynolds, as Grainger unveils his work before such celebrated luminaries as Samuel Johnson, William Shenstone, and Thomas Percy, among others: Having talked of Dr. Grainger's Sugar Cane, I mentioned to him Mr. Langton's having told me that this poem, when read in Manuscript at Sir Joshua Reynolds', had made all the assembled wits burst into a laugh, when, after much blank-verse pomp the poet began a new paragraph thus: "Now, Muse, let's sing of rats." And what increased the ridicule was, that one of the company, who slily overlooked the reader, perceived that the word had been originally mice, and had been altered

Journal

The Eighteenth CenturyUniversity of Pennsylvania Press

Published: Apr 26, 2008

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