A landmark work of revisionist history exploring and celebrating the lives of Black Victorians.
Our vision of Victorian Britain tends to the monolithic – white, imperialist, prurient, patrician. However, though until very recently overlooked in our textbooks, there was another, more diverse Britain, populated by people of colour marking achievements both ordinary and extraordinary.
In this deeply researched, dynamic and revelatory history, Woolf and Abraham reach back into the archives to recentre our attention on marginalised Black Victorians, from leading medic George Rice to protestor William Cuffay to attention-grabbing abolitionists Henry ‘Box’ Brown and Sarah Parker Remond; from pre-Raphaelite muse Fanny Eaton to composer Samuel Coleridge Taylor. Black Victorians shows how Black lives were visible, present and influential – not temporary presences but established and rooted; and how paradox and ambivalence characterised the Victorian view of race.
PRAISE FOR THE WONDERS
‘A promising young historian’ Stephen Fry
‘Nuanced and complex, Woolf deftly shows there are stories of empowerment alongside those of exploitation’ BBC History magazine
‘John Woolf’s book will dazzle you with details of extraordinary lives, long underestimated by history’ Matthew Sweet, author of Inventing the Victorians