Prof. Vanessa Dickerson Publishes "Compelling" Dark Victorians

Prof. Vanessa Dickerson Publishes "Compelling" Dark Victorians

March 24, 2008

Dark Victorians Dickerson.jpgMarch 24, 2008, Greencastle, Ind. - Dark Victorians, by Vanessa D. Dickerson, professor of English at DePauw University, is new in bookstores. "Richly textured, well researched, and compelling, Dark Victorians is concerned with unquestionably important and timely issues," states Nicole King, author of C.L.R. James and Creolization: Circles of Influence.

"Dark Victorians illuminates the cross-cultural influences between white Britons and black Americans during the Victorian age," notes the book's publisher, University of Illinois Press. "In carefully analyzing literature and travel narratives by Ida B. Wells, Harriet Martineau, Charles Dickens, Frederick Douglass, Thomas Carlyle, W. E. B. Du Bois, and others, Vanessa D. Dickerson reveals the profound political, racial, and rhetorical exchanges between the groups. Evoking moral and political debates of the Victorian age, this study investigates how African-Americans and Britons perceived each another. Black America's romance with Victorian Britain and Britons' knowledge of black Americans, Dickerson argues, was largely the result of travelers who crossed the Atlantic and then shared their experiences -- often by publishing them in nonfictional or fictional forms -- with their compatriots."

Vanessa Dickerson.jpgOpines Richard Blackett, author of Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War, "Dickerson's premise is brilliant in its simplicity: crossing the Atlantic, both literally and figuratively, had a profound effect on how black Americans came to see themselves and the United States. Their pilgrimages were driven by a desire to isolate America, to pressure it to live up to its principles of equality. What Britain knew of black America was also largely a result of the efforts of the sojourners."

Nicole King adds that Dr. Dickerson's "explorations of critically significant works by a group of culturally and ethnically diverse authors of the Victorian age will be of great value to both scholars and students in fields such as African-American, Victorian, and American literary studies."

Learn more at the publisher's Web site and

Vanessa Dickerson is also the author of Victorian Ghosts in the Noontide: Women Writers and the Supernatural and co-editor of Recovering the Black Female Body.