"white child is good, black child his [or her] slave": Women, children, and empire in early nineteenth-century India
Many contemporary critical studies examining the politics of Romantic-era representations of the child focus almost exclusively on domestic literature rather than also considering literature written by British writers in the colonies. Non-domestic, Romantic-era discourse, such as that written by British women travelers in India during the period, generate an even more heterogeneous understanding of Romantic-era writing, complicating notions of childhood goodness, establishing the diaphanous nature of exported domestic class relations, and revealing in more depth the multivalent axiality of women's and children's roles within Romantic-era colonial power structures. This essay pursues these areas of inquiry by interrogating depictions of and references to children in the following early nineteenth-century texts by British women travelers in India: Mary Martha Sherwood's The Life of Mrs. Sherwood (1854), documenting her 1805-1815 residence in India; Maria Graham's Journal of a Residence in India (1812), recounting her 1809-1812 journey in India; and Anne Katharine Elwood's Narrative of a Journey Overland from England, by the Continent of Europe, Egypt, and the Red Sea, to India (1830), detailing her 1825-1828 travels to and in India.
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