Improvisations of Empire offers a historical, biographical and literary study of the life and writings of Thomas Pringle (1789-1834), the son of a Lowland tenant farmer in Scotland. It examines his Scottish journalistic and literary career, his emigration to the Cape Colony as the head of a party of Scottish settlers and his subsequent relocation to London where he gained prominence as the secretary of the Anti-Slavery Society and the editor of a popular annual, Friendship's Offering. The central concern of the book is with Pringle's poetry and his affiliated prose, and how these writings reflect the negotiation of his deeply conflicted colonial experience from the perspectives of his Scottish background, his shifting colonial locations and his subsequent period of residence in London.
Matthew Shum, a research associate in the English department at the University of Stellenbosch, South Africa, has previously taught in the English department at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. The focus of Shum's research is colonial writing in South Africa in the long eighteenth century.
Introduction; 1. Scotland: 1789-1820; 2. The Eastern Cape Frontier: 1820-1822; 3. Cape Town and Beyond: 1822-1825; 4. London: 1826-1834; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index.