F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Anonymous - "The Female American; or, The Adventures of Unca Eliza Winkfield" - 1767

The Female American shares several narrative resonances with The Woman of Colour.  As Lyndon Dominique points out, they are both "heiress of color" texts involving a heroine "who not only confronts but tries to stave off the threat of marital enslavement" (36). Whereas Olivia must negotiate a will requiring she marry, however, Unca Winkfield establishes a physical challenge she knows herself unlikely to lose to anyone who wishes to wed her.  Yet, "perhaps indicating an authorial anxiety about a need to control the influence of independent women of color," the white Captain Shore does eventually best her (Dominique 36-37).  While Dominique emphasizes the racial anxieties that could govern the text, however, it is also noteworthy that as opposed to The Woman of Colour, which is a drama of manners, The Female American is a Robinsonade adventure yarn:  Olivia perhaps does not marry in a reflection of the putative threat that would pose to the British social order whereas Unca perhaps must to "domesticate" her from her audacious daring -- especially as neither protagonist returns to the metropole.

The text raises questions and confronts anxieties surrounding miscegenation, but here tackles the dynamic of indigeneity and its relevance to the project of empire.  It perhaps becomes a bridging work between the then-dominant canon of the British Empire and the soon-emergent US literary scene.

Work Cited

Dominique, Lyndon. J. Introduction. The Woman of Colour, a Tale. 1808. Broadview, 2008, pp. 11-

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