[lit-ideas] Re: The Life, Times, and _Opinions_ of Olaudah Equiano

  • From: "Judith Evans" <judithevans1@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Sun, 21 Oct 2007 18:23:35 +0100

>Indeed, I also found it gave too much of a _parliamentary_ account of 
>abolitionism. Indeed,

I haven't seen it, JL -- thanks for the corroboration. To be fair, it wasn't 
meant to be more
than a bio-pic of Wilberforce.  And without Wilberforce (and Pitt, who 
encouraged him)
the extra-parliamentary movement would have had a far harder time (getting a 
through parliament). The thing is, in Britain abolition was judicial and 
parliamentary, albeit
without the support of the people it presumably would not have occurred.

>I expected Wilberforce to be more of a 'man of action' 

Clarkson etc. did the rushing around the country, but in liaison with 

>I too thought the title was misleading.  

I assume they chose it because it's so well-known.  Newton wrote it, yes, but 
a somewhat equivocal character (I saw the part of the movie that made him look
a bit like a church custodian!, the reason's that he became a curate)


>Indeed Thomas Clarkon's role was so diminished that I don't know who he was

he was really important, 


>I expect Olaudah Equiano was a 'freed slave', and I remember an 'ethnic' cast 
>type there,

there's some doubt about his early story, but he was a slave, yes, who bought 
his freedom
and came to England, where, basically, he could be assured of not being made a 
again.  He became a leading abolitionist speaker and writer


-- the "'ethnic' cast type" you saw is Youssou N'Dour, who is really really 
good; he's been
very polite about the very small role in _Amazing Grace_!


>but like Equiano, their role was mainly to make the British aware 
>that there is something like a _living_ aborigen culture 

I wouldn't have said that was Equiano's role.  He was an independent actor 
within the
abolition movement.

Judy Evans, Cardiff, UK

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