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Maidens in the Moorlands: Black Women in 19th-Century British Literature

Tiffany Cruz, Mellon Community Collaborator and MA in English Literature Candidate, presents her letterpress illuminated book project that compares two 19th-century British novels whose protagonists are Black Women: the 1808 epistolary novel of manners, The Woman of Colour (Anonymous) and the 1897 fin-de-siecle Gothic sensation The Blood of the Vampire (Florence Marryat). The project puts these texts in conversation with European artworks that center upper class Black women to showcase the ways in which raced and gendered Eurocentric conceptions of selfhood limit both lived and literary arcs for the Black woman, regardless of her financial status. The project demonstrates the impossibility of even a fictional happy ending for the Black woman in a country whose empire is based on racial capital.

Maidens in the Moorlands Lecture: Mills College April 22nd, 2022

In collaboration with the Mills Museum