‘Yarico’ Coming to London

‘Inkle and Yarico’ was a popular eighteenth century story of slavery and love in the Caribbean. A musical version is shortly to be produced in London by Jodie Kidd, the former supermodel, and her father John Kidd (a descendant of Lord Beaverbrook). This musical is based on a play staged by George Colman the Younger in 1787 at the Haymarket. But did you know that  the idea for Colman’s play may have been ‘stolen’ from John Thelwall, who handed Colman’s father the manuscript of a play based on the same story just months before the Haymarket production? Thelwall’s version actually corresponds more closely to the original seventeenth century story, and chimes better with modern postcolonial attitudes: it mocks the white colonizers, has powerful female/native/black characters (Yarico and Yahoma), and has the natives turn the tables on the white colonizers in the final scene. (Colman altered the original ending in his version.) A version of Thelwall’s play was performed in Bath in 2007 by Bill Wallis and other actors from the company ‘Show of Strength’ (who had also previously performed Colman’s musical version). Read more about this fascinating story and John Thelwall’s antislavery activities in a new paper by Dr Michael Scrivener.

Photos from the First Annual John Thelwall Society Conference

This gallery contains 5 photos.


2014 John Thelwall Society Conference (July 25-27)

The final program for the conference, including the schedule of pre-conference excursions, is now available. We look forward to seeing you in London!

Third Annual Thelwall Lecture

Please join us on 2 August 2014 from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Jerwood Centre in Grasmere for the Third Annual Thelwall Lecture (as part of the Bindman Talks).  In this talk, Dr Michael Scrivener, Professor of English at Wayne State University in Detroit and the author of Radical Shelley and Seditious Allegories: John Thelwall and Jacobin Writing, will discuss how Thelwall’s ideas were shaped by slavery and the abolition movement.


Registration is now open for the 2014 John Thelwall Society Conference, taking place July 25-27 at Notre Dame London Centre.

For registration information, including fees before and after June 30 and a link to the registration site, please visit our registration information page.

For more information on the conference, please see our conference page on this site.


DEADLINE EXTENDED TO FEB. 28: John Thelwall Society Inaugural Conference (July 25-27, 2014)

We are very excited to announce the first conference of the John Thelwall Society, to be held July 25-27, 2014 at the University of Notre Dame London Centre (1 Suffolk Street, London, England).  The conference, John Thelwall at 250: Medicine, Literature, and Reform in London, ca. 1764-1834,” invites paper proposals from contributors on a wide variety of subjects. Please submit titles and abstracts of 250-300 words to conference2014@johnthelwall.org by February 28, 2014. For more information, please view our CFP or contact the organizers, Gordon Bottomley (Lancaster University) at g.bottomley@lancaster.ac.uk and Yasmin Solomonescu (University of Notre Dame) at solomonescu.1@nd.edu.

Upcoming Talk: Gordon Bottomley, “John Thelwall and the Radical Surgeons: How Speech Therapy Developed out of the First ‘War on Terror'”

Dr Gordon Bottomley, Secretary of the John Thelwall Society, will be giving a talk titled “John Thelwall and the Radical Surgeons: How Speech Therapy Developed out of the First ‘War on Terror'” as part of the next North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar. The seminar will take place on 3 July from 2 to 5 pm at the Manchester City Library in the Becker Room (First Floor, Elliot House, 151 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3WD). The seminar is free and open to all; there is no need to pre-register. For further details, please contact Gordon Bottomley.

Second Annual Thelwall Lecture

Please join us on 15 June from 4:30-5:30 pm at the Jerwood Centre in Grasmere for the Second Annual Thelwall Lecture. Dr Steve Poole, Associate Professor of Social and Cultural History and Director of the Regional History Centre at the University of the West of England in Bristol, will give a talk titled “Disarming the Jacobin Fox: John Thelwall and the Art of Satire.” It is free to attend, but please pre-book to ensure a place. Direct bookings can be made through the Wordsworth Trust. Members of the John Thelwall Society may also contact our Secretary to pre-book. Following the lecture, there will be a celebratory meal at the Daffodil Restaurant in Grasmere. For further details, please contact our Secretary. All are welcome.

Publication of John Thelwall’s The Daughter of Adoption by Broadview Press

Broadview Press: John Thelwall's The Daugher of Adoption We are excited to announce the publication by Broadview Press of the first modern edition of John Thelwall’s feminist, abolitionist, anti-imperialist (and immensely readable) novel, The Daughter of Adoption, edited by Michael Scrivener, Yasmin Solomonescu and Judith Thompson. Broadview summarise the new publication as follows:

“John Thelwall’s The Daughter of Adoption; A Tale of Modern Times is a witty and wide-ranging work in which the picaresque and sentimental novel of the eighteenth century confronts the revolutionary ideas and forms of the Romantic period. Thelwall puts his two main characters, the conflicted English gentleman Henry Montfort and the Creole Seraphina Parkinson, through their paces in a slave rebellion in Haiti, where they barely escape with their lives, and in London society, where Henry almost loses his soul. Combining political analysis with melodrama and flat-out farce, Daughter expands the scope of the abolitionist novel, pushing the argument beyond the slave trade to challenge empire and racial superiority.

Historical materials on Thelwall’s life, the abolitionist movement, and eighteenth-century educational theories provide a detailed context for the novel.”

For more information or to purchase the text, please visit Broadview Press.

New Work in Thelwall Studies

A new essay by Rhian E. Jones, titled “Talking Treason? John Thelwall and the Privy Council Examinations of the English Jacobins, 1794,” is now available in Thelwall Studies.