Transferential Rhetoric and Beyond: The West Indian Presence in Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda and Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray

  • James M. MorrisEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)


By engaging with the Burkean family metaphor through their considerations of the national importance of motherhood, Maria Edgeworth’s Belinda (1801) and Amelia Opie’s Adeline Mowbray (1805) provide an intersectional study of class, race and gender in the context of the abolitionist movement. Despite rehearsing colonial power dynamics by portraying their slave characters as in need of the care and condescension of British women, Edgeworth and Opie also engage in a discourse of “colonial cosmopolitanism” through their extension of “grateful negro” tropology. Characterising their freed and escaped slaves as the moral arbiters of a greedy and unscrupulous British society, Edgeworth’s and Opie’s fictions question the slave system and seek to reform both domestic and colonial conduct.


Burkean family metaphor Motherhood Abolitionist movement Colonial cosmopolitanism “Grateful slave” tropology Freed and escaped slaves Maria Edgeworth Belinda Amelia Opie Adeline Mowbray 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of English LiteratureUniversity of DundeeDundeeUK

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