Abstract: Throughout the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth century, white
poets on both sides of the Atlantic wrote hundreds of dramatic monologues in the voices
of non-white speakers, particularly those of enslaved black people. This practice deserves
more attention within critical studies of the dramatic monologue, especially as related
to the literary expression of women’s anger. For white women authors in the nineteenth
century, the dramatic monologue’s most central convention, the creation of a fictional or
historical speaker radically different from the author, could be a liberating and exciting
way to articulate a bitter social critique. At the same time, these white-authored poems
written in the voices of angry black women also embed within the heart of the genre the
distinctive and unreciprocated power of white voices to seize control over black ones.
This dynamic suggests that the dramatic monologue bears a striking resemblance to the
nineteenth-century minstrelsy show.