Unlike his contemporaries, who saw Europe’s prosperity as confirmation of a utopian future, the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher Adam Ferguson saw a reminder of Rome’s lesson that egalitarian democracy could become a self-undermining path to dictatorship. This is a major reassessment of a critic overshadowed today by David Hume and Adam Smith.
The move to a new publisher has given The Age of Johnson: A Scholarly Annual the opportunity to recommit to what it does best: present to a wide readership cant-free scholarly articles and essays and searching book reviews, all featuring a wide variety of approaches, written by both seasoned scholars and relative newcomers. Volume 24 features commentary on a range of Johnsonian topics: his reaction to Milton, his relation to the Allen family, his notes in his edition of Shakespeare, his use of Oliver Goldsmith in his Dictionary, and his always fascinating Nachleben. The volume also includes articles on topics of strong interest to Johnson: penal reform, Charlotte Lennox's professional literary career, and the "conjectural history" of Homer in the eighteenth century.
For more than two decades, The Age of Johnson has presented a vast corpus of Johnsonian studies "in the broadest sense," as founding editor Paul J. Korshin put it in the preface to Volume 1, and it has retained the interest of a wide readership. In thousands of pages of articles, review essays, and reviews, The Age of Johnson has made a permanent contribution to our understanding of the eighteenth century, and particularly of Samuel Johnson, his circle, and his interests, and has also served as an outlet for writers who are not academics but have something important to say about the eighteenth century.
In An Aqueous Territory Ernesto Bassi traces the configuration of a geographic space he calls the transimperial Greater Caribbean between 1760 and 1860. Focusing on the Caribbean coast of New Granada (present-day Colombia), Bassi shows that the region's residents did not live their lives bounded by geopolitical borders. Rather, the cross-border activities of sailors, traders, revolutionaries, indigenous peoples, and others reflected their perceptions of the Caribbean as a transimperial space where trade, information, and people circulated, both conforming to and in defiance of imperial regulations. Bassi demonstrates that the islands, continental coasts, and open waters of the transimperial Greater Caribbean constituted a space that was simultaneously Spanish, British, French, Dutch, Danish, Anglo-American, African, and indigenous. Exploring the "lived geographies" of the region's dwellers, Bassi challenges preconceived notions of the existence of discrete imperial spheres and the inevitable emergence of independent nation-states while providing insights into how people envision their own futures and make sense of their place in the world.
In The Art of Being In-between Yanna Yannakakis rethinks processes of cultural change and indigenous resistance and accommodation to colonial rule through a focus on the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, a rugged, mountainous, ethnically diverse, and overwhelmingly indigenous region of colonial Mexico. Her rich social and cultural history tells the story of the making of colonialism at the edge of empire through the eyes of native intermediary figures: indigenous governors clothed in Spanish silks, priests’ assistants, interpreters, economic middlemen, legal agents, landed nobility, and “Indian conquistadors.” Through political negotiation, cultural brokerage, and the exercise of violence, these fascinating intercultural figures redefined native leadership, sparked indigenous rebellions, and helped forge an ambivalent political culture that distinguished the hinterlands from the centers of Spanish empire.
Through interpretation of a wide array of historical sources—including descriptions of public rituals, accounts of indigenous rebellions, idolatry trials, legal petitions, court cases, land disputes, and indigenous pictorial histories—Yannakakis weaves together an elegant narrative that illuminates political and cultural struggles over the terms of local rule. As cultural brokers, native intermediaries at times reconciled conflicting interests, and at other times positioned themselves in opposing camps over the outcome of municipal elections, the provision of goods and labor, landholding, community ritual, the meaning of indigenous “custom” in relation to Spanish law, and representations of the past. In the process, they shaped an emergent “Indian” identity in tension with other forms of indigenous identity and a political order characterized by a persistent conflict between local autonomy and colonial control. This innovative study provides fresh insight into colonialism’s disparate cultures and the making of race, ethnicity, and the colonial state and legal system in Spanish America.
Debates over the economic, social, and political meaning of slavery and the slave trade have persisted for over two hundred years. The Atlantic Slave Trade brings clarity and critical insight to the subject. In fourteen essays, leading scholars consider the nature and impact of the transatlantic slave trade and assess its meaning for the people transported and for those who owned them. Among the questions these essays address are: the social cost to Africa of this forced migration; the role of slavery in the economic development of Europe and the United States; the short-term and long-term effects of the slave trade on black mortality, health, and life in the New World; and the racial and cultural consequences of the abolition of slavery. Some of these essays originally appeared in recent issues of Social Science History; the editors have added new material, along with an introduction placing each essay in the context of current debates. Based on extensive archival research and detailed historical examination, this collection constitutes an important contribution to the study of an issue of enduring significance. It is sure to become a standard reference on the Atlantic slave trade for years to come.
Contributors. Ralph A. Austen, Ronald Bailey, William Darity, Jr., Seymour Drescher, Stanley L. Engerman, David Barry Gaspar, Clarence Grim, Brian Higgins, Jan S. Hogendorn, Joseph E. Inikori, Kenneth Kiple, Martin A. Klein, Paul E. Lovejoy, Patrick Manning, Joseph C. Miller, Johannes Postma, Woodruff Smith, Thomas Wilson
This book deals with changing conditions and conceptions of authorship in the long eighteenth century, a period often said to have witnessed the birth of the modern author. It focuses not on authorial self-presentation or self-revelation but on an author’s interactions with booksellers, collaborators, rivals, correspondents, patrons, and audiences. Challenging older accounts of the development of authorship in the period as well as newer claims about the “public sphere” and the “professional writer,” it engages with recent work on print culture and the history of the book. Methodologically eclectic, it moves from close readings to strategic contextualization. The book is organized both chronologically and topically. Early chapters deal with writers – notably Milton and Dryden – at the beginning of the long eighteenth century, and later chapters focus more on writers — among them Johnson, Gray, and Gibbon — toward its end. Looking beyond the traditional canon, it considers a number of little-known or little-studied writers, including Richard Bentley, Thomas Birch, William Oldys, James Ralph, and Thomas Ruddiman. Some of the essays are organized around a single writer, but most deal with a broad topic – literary collaboration, literary careers, the republic of letters, the alleged rise of the “professional writer,” and the rather different figure of the “author by profession.”
Published by University of Delaware Press. Distributed worldwide by Rutgers University Press.