This monograph is the first book-length biography of the American Gilbert Imlay (c.1754 - c.1828), revolutionary war veteran, land-jobber, travel-writer, novelist, entrepreneur, agent provocateur - and infamous lover of Mary Wollstonecraft. The book ...
concerns an Imlay little known to those working in Romantic Studies, so includes a reconstruction of Imlay's early life in New Jersey; an account of his activities as a land speculator; the intriguing relations he had with a spate of historical characters; and his involvement with the Girondist government's plans to launch a revolt in the Western Territory against the US to destabilize Spanish rule in Louisiana. Previously undocumented details of Imlay's participation in the transatlantic slave trade are also included. Though his life provides a fascinating biography in its own right, the book highlights how Imlay unwittingly acted as an intermediary between figures of greater significance, whose diverse ideas, ambitions and schemes he frequently borrowed and disseminated across the Atlantic and across continents, whilst invariably serving his own interests.