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Quobna Ottobah Cugoano: A Bibliography

Quobna Ottobah Cugoano has not received a great deal of attention over the last two centuries, but this situation is changing rapidly. In the past few years a number of books and articles have appeared which discuss Cugoano's life and works. This bibliography aims to reflect that scholarship. I do not intend to include everything written on Cugoano, although as this bibliography develops I anticipate that it will become more inclusive. Although I do not claim to have included everything, please let me know if you notice any glaring omissions! I have organised the information under the following headings. Scroll down the page, or click on the link to jump to the category you are interested in.

These may appear to be somewhat arbitrary divisions, and indeed they are, but I hope they are sufficiently all encompassing to help you find your way around. Within these headings, works are in alphabetical order of author, except for the editions which are listed chronologically.

In some cases I have added a few words of comment to the entries. Where there is no comment it means either that I have not yet examined the title or that I did not have a copy or notes to hand when I created this page. I hope to rectify this in the near future. In the case of newer books I will also add a link to the publisher if they have a page which specifically showcases the title listed. Otherwise, I shall leave publishers unlinked. Likewise, I shall only link to an author's website if there is something about Cugoano to be seen there.

* This bibliography was last updated on 27 June 2015. I will add more information whenever it becomes available.


Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a native of Africa (London: n.p., 1787)

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a native of Africa (London: T. Becket, 1787). A few pages only of this edition survive in the British Library.

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a native of Africa (London: Mr Hall & Mr Phillips, 1787). The edition held in the Porteus Collection of the University of London Library.

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil of slavery; or, The nature of servitude as admitted by the law of God, compared to the modern slavery of the Africans in the West-Indies: in an answer to the advocates for slavery and oppression. Addressed to the sons of Africa, by a Native (London: printed for, and sold by, the author, 1791)

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil of slavery (London: Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1969). Facsimile of the 1787 edition with an introduction by Paul Edwards.

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil and wicked traffic of the slavery and commerce of the human species, humbly submitted to the inhabitants of Great-Britain, by Ottobah Cugoano, a native of Africa (London: n.p., 1787), reprinted in Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815 edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and William L. Andrews (Washington DC: Civitas, 1998), pp. 82-180.

Thoughts and sentiments on the evil of slavery and other writings, edited with an introduction and notes by Vincent Carretta (London and New York: Penguin, 1999)

Smith, Mary Antoinette, ed, Thomas Clarkson and Ottobah Cugoano: Essays on the Slavery and Commerce of the Human Species (Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2010). Cugoano's essay is reproduced entire at pp. 221-325 with much supporting information.

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Selections from Cugoano's writings can be found in the following collections:

Adams, Francis D. and Sanders, Barry, eds.,Three Black Writers in Eighteenth-Century England (Belmont: Wadsworth Publishing, 1971).

Bown, Lalage, Two Centuries of African English: A Survey and Anthology of Non-Fictional English Prose by African Writers Since 1769 (London: Heinemann, 1973).

Caretta, Vincent, ed., Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1996). An extremely useful introduction to the subject. The is a generous selection at pp. 145-184 with useful footnotes.

Edwards, Paul and Dabydeen, David, eds., Black Writers in Britain 1760-1890 (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1991).

Edwards, Paul, and James Walvin, Black Personalities in the Era of the Slave Trade (London: Macmillan, 1983).

Fisher, Thomas, ed, 'Narrative of the Enslavement of Ottobah Cugoano, a Native of Africa; Published by Himself in the Year 1787'. In The Negro's Memorial; or, Abolitionist's Catechism; by an Abolitionist (London: Printed for the Author and Sold by Hatchard and Co, 1825), pp. 120-127

Kitson, Peter, et al, eds, Slavery, Abolition and Emancipation: Writings in the British Romantic Period (London: Pickering and Chatto, 1999), 8 vols. Facsimiles of Cugoano's Thoughts and Sentiments and hundreds of other slavery-related texts.
More information from Pickering and Chatto

Potkay, Adam and Sandra Burr, Black Atlantic Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Living the New Exodus in England and the Americas (London: Palgrave, 1995).

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Contemporary Reviews and Accounts of Cugoano

More details soon.

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Nineteenth-Century Commentary

Grégoire, Henri Babtiste (Abbé Grégoire), De La Littérature Des Nègres, ou, Recherces sur leur facultés intellectuelles, leur qualitiés Morales et leur littérature; Suivies de Notices sur la vie et les ouvrages des Nègres qui se sont distingués dans les Sciences, les Lettres et les Arts, (Paris: Maradan, 1808).

Grégoire, Henri Babtiste (Abbé Grégoire), An Enquiry concerning the intellectual and moral faculties, and literature of Negroes; followed with an account of the life and works of fifteen Negroes and Mulattoes distinguished in Science, Literature and the Arts. (Brooklyn: Thomas Kirk, 1810). A translation of the above.

More C19th commentary to be added shortly

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Twentieth-Century Commentary

Carretta, Vincent, 'Three West Indian Writers of the 1780s Revisited and Revised', Research in African Literature, 29, 4 (Winter 1998): 73-86. Useful round-up of recent scholarship.

Dabydeen, David, and Nana Wilson-Tagoe, A Reader's Guide to Westindian and Black British Literature, 2nd edn, revised (London: Hansib Publications, 1997).

Dathorne, O.R., 'African Writers of the Eighteenth Century', The London Magazine, 5 (September 1965): 51-58.

Fryer, Peter, Staying Power; the History of Black People in Britain (London: Pluto Press, 1984). The best general history of the British black presence to date, though sometimes too uncritical of the historical and literary sources. Cugoano is discussed at pp. 98-102, and in passing throughout much of the book.

Ogude, S.E., Genius in Bondage: A Study of the Origins of African Literature in English (Ile-Ife, Nigeria: University of Ife Press, 1983).

Ramdin, Ron, The Making of the Black Working Class in Britain (Aldershot: Gower, 1987).

Sandiford, Keith, Measuring the Moment: Strategies of Protest in Eighteenth-century Afro-English Writing (London: Associated University Presses, 1988). Introduces the notion of the 'ironic strategy' by which Afro-British writers registered their protest against slavery while ostensibly remaining within a mainstream discourse. A very influential work.

Shyllon, F.O., Black People in Britain 1555-1833 (London: OUP, 1977).

Shyllon, F.O., Black Slaves in Britain (London: OUP, 1974)

Walvin, James, 'In Black and White: Recent Publications on British Black Writings', Slavery And Abolition, 16 (1995): 376-382. A useful round-up of recent literature.

Walvin, James, Black and White: the Negro and English Society, 1555-1945. (London: Allen Lane the Penguin Press, 1973). Walvin's early work, though important at the time, is of limited interest now.

Walvin, James, England, Slaves and Freedom, 1776-1838 (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986).

Walvin, James, The Black Presence: A Documentary History of the Negro in England, 1555-1860 (London: Orbach and Chambers, 1971).

Woodard, Helena, African British Writings in the Eighteenth Century: the Politics of Race and Reason (Westport, Ct: Greenwood Press, 1999). A fuller description can be viewed at the Greenwood Press Website

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Twenty-First-Century Commentary

Carey, Brycchan, British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment,and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005). Cugoano is discussed at pages 137-40. Click here for more information

Hoyles, Martin, Cugoano Against Slavery (Hertford: Hansib Publications, 2015). A very readable biography of Cugoano.

Wheeler, Roxann, 'Betrayed by some of my own complexion: Cugoano, abolition, and the contemporary language of racialism', in Genius in bondage: literature of the early Black Atlantic ed. Vincent Carretta and Philip Gould (Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2001), pp.

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Modern and Eighteenth-Century Translations into Other Languages

French: Réflexion sur la traite et l'esclavage des nègres (1788)

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