This article examines a range of palm oil traders’ literary works, published between the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The traders’ efforts to understand local tastes and patterns of consumption furnish us with rare information about the social and material effects of the palm oil trade on West African communities. These instances of white working-class writing reveal the ways in which some European traders in Africa developed techniques of literary expression that extend conventional readings of imperial popular literature. The article focuses in detail on two texts by J. M. Stuart- Young, who attempted to reconcile opposing masculine types by introducing a new sensitivity and poetic creativity to the negative popular image of the palm oil trader.


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pp. 1-13
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