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Quaker Studies

Abstract

Through case studies of writings by George Fox, Alice Curwen and Joan Vokins, this article identifies a marked discrepancy in style and focus between early Quaker accounts of journeys to the American mainland and to Barbados. Accounts of the mainland journeys are detailed and often dramatic narratives which, like most early Quaker writing, read the spiritual in and from the places and people encountered, whilst those concerned with Barbados are brief, bland and apparently unconcerned with the immanence of God in the material and social world. An explanation for this discrepancy is sought in the particular cultural and social circumstances of Barbados, and in particular in the pressures on the Quaker habit of elision between the social and the spiritual brought to bear by the institution and practice of slavery.

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