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Issue Details: First known date: 2011... 2011 Tense and Tender Ties : Reflections on Lives Recovered from the Intimate Frontier of Empire and Slavery
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

This essay is an exploration of the social and cultural space on the frontier of empire, where sexual and affective transgressions of the taxonomies of race and power were enacted in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It begins with research into the life of a mixed race colonist in early Australia, whose story carried me unexpectedly, and in a circuitous way, into the improbable world of Doll Thomas, a free woman of colour in the eighteenth-century colony of Demerara. Not only does the history of this remarkable woman and her daughters open a little known aspect of slavery and emancipation, it also illuminates the submerged social history at the heart of one of England's most famous novels, Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights. [Author's abstract]


  • Pybus's article begins with the family background of Gilbert Robertson, editor of the True Colonist newspaper in the colony of Van Diemen's Land. Her research leads Pybus through the archives to the Caribbean, to freed slave Doll Thomas and, remarkably, to Wuthering Heights [see abstract above]. The article is recorded in AustLit for the transnational connections it provides between 19th century Australia and the social, economic and literary networks of Empire.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Last amended 11 Mar 2013 07:19:51
5-17 Tense and Tender Ties : Reflections on Lives Recovered from the Intimate Frontier of Empire and Slaverysmall AustLit logo Life Writing
  • Caribbean, Americas,
  • Trinidad,
    Trinidad & Tobago,
    Caribbean, Americas,
  • 1700-1799
  • 1800-1899
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