Andrea Stuart
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Writing Sugar in the Blood
in Emancipation and the remaking of the British imperial world
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Andrea Stuart's Sugar in the Blood (2012) tells the story of her transatlantic family across eight generations. In this essay she reflects on the experience of writing that personal history, a chronicle that documents the evolution of the plantation complex in microcosm. Her ancestors, seventeenth century settlers, first used white indentured labour and then, as they became increasingly enmeshed in the burgeoning sugar industry, converted to the exploitation of enslaved African labour. For centuries the lives of the family centred on the plantation and the production of sugar. Her intention was to demonstrate in fictional form how colonial settlement, the rise of the sugar industry, the slave trade and emancipation shaped the lives of these individuals. The essay considers the relation between fiction and other forms of history writing and argues for the centrality of the fictional imagination in considerations of the legacies of slavery.

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