Did Emily Bronte see Ireland as a slave plantation?

In Ireland, Africa and Love in Emily Brontë’s Gondal Poems Christopher Heywood proposes that in the ‘Gondal Poems’ Notebook, Emily Brontë outlined historical personages and events in the Irish Rebellions of 1579–83 and 1798, disguised as the warfare of Pacific Ocean isles.

She named the isles Gondal and Gaaldine, after Gondar, an early capital of Abyssinia, and the neighbouring Galla, the Gondar ascendancy’s source of slaves. Their warfare is described in James Bruce’s Journey in Search of the Source of the Nile, a book in the Keighley Mechanics’ Institute Library.

The African analogy echoed and concealed the view of Ireland as London’s slave plantation, held by the United Irishmen, its leadership dedicated to republican ideals, and a movement in which her uncle William Brontë participated during the 1798 Rebellion.

Her ‘Gondal Poems’ Notebook reflects her love for Ireland, Haworth and her family, including her visiting uncle Hugh Brontë, her probable source of independent information about Ireland.

The full article published in Bronte Studies journal (Vol. 38, Issue 2. April 2013) is downloadable at http://www.maneyonline.com/doi/full/10.1179/1474893213Z.00000000057?utm_campaign=BST+free+articles&utm_source=emailCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=

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About seancreighton1947

Since moving to Norbury in July 2011 I have been active on local economy issues with Croydon TUC and Croydon Assembly, and am a member of the latter's Environment Forum. I am a member of the 5 Norbury Residents Associations Joint Planning Committee, and a Governor of Norbury Manor Primary School. I write for Croydon Citizen at http://thecroydoncitizen.com. I co-ordinate the Samuel Coleridge-Taylor and Croydon Radical History Networks and advise the North East People's History Project.. I give history talks and lead history walks. I retired in 2012 having worked in the community/voluntary sector and on heritage projects. My history interests include labour movement, mutuality, Black British, slavery & abolition, Edwardian roller skating and the social and political use of music and song. I have a particular interest in the histories of Battersea and Wandsworth, Croydon and Lambeth. I have a publishing imprint History & Social Action Publications.
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