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Clotel: Or the President's Daughter
     

Clotel: Or the President's Daughter

3.3 3
by William W. Brown
 

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Although of historic interest simply by virtue of the fact that William Wells Brown appears to have been the first African American to write a novel, Clotel is much more than a literary curiosity: it is an eminently readable and emotionally powerful, portrait of the dehumanizing horrors of slave life in the Ante-bellum South. Brown, himself an escaped slave, tells

Overview

Although of historic interest simply by virtue of the fact that William Wells Brown appears to have been the first African American to write a novel, Clotel is much more than a literary curiosity: it is an eminently readable and emotionally powerful, portrait of the dehumanizing horrors of slave life in the Ante-bellum South. Brown, himself an escaped slave, tells the story of the slave Currer and her daughters, Clotel and Althesa, and of their attempts to escape from slavery. The unacknowledged father of the girls, President Thomas Jefferson, is the reason for the title and a theme that runs through the book. There is an immediacy to the stories here--of slave auctions, of families being torn apart, of card games where humans are wagered and lost, of sickly slaves being purchased for the express purpose of resale for medical experimentation upon their imminent deaths, of suicides and of many more indignities and brutalities--which no textbook can adequately convey. Though the characters tend too much to the archetypal, Brown does put a human face on this most repellent of American tragedies. He also makes extensive use of actual sermons, lectures, political pamphlets, newspaper advertisements, and the like, to give the book something of a docudrama effect.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781481829175
Publisher:
CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date:
12/27/2012
Pages:
120
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.25(d)

Meet the Author

William Wells Brown (November 6, 1814 - November 6, 1884) was a prominent abolitionist lecturer, novelist, playwright, and historian. Born into slavery in the Southern United States, Brown escaped to the North, where he worked for abolitionist causes and was a prolific writer. Brown was a pioneer in several different literary genres, including travel writing, fiction, and drama, and wrote what is considered to be the first novel by an African American. An almost exact contemporary of Frederick Douglass, Wells Brown was overshadowed by Douglass and the two feuded publicly. William Wells Brown was born into slavery in Lexington, Kentucky. His mother, Elizabeth, was owned by a Dr. Young and had seven children, all with different fathers. (In addition to Brown, her children were Solomon, Leander, Benjamin, Joseph, Milford, and Elizabeth.) Brown's father was George Higgins, a white plantation owner and cousin of the owner of the plantation where Brown was born. Even though Young promised Higgins never to sell the boy, he was sold multiple times before he was twenty years old. Brown spent the majority of his youth in St. Louis. His masters hired him out to work on the Missouri River, then a major thoroughfare for the slave trade. He made several attempts to escape, and on New Year's Day of 1834, he successfully slipped away from a steamboat at a dock in Cincinnati, Ohio. He adopted the name of a Quaker friend of his, who had helped him after his escape by providing him with food, clothes and some money. Shortly after gaining his freedom, he met and married Elizabeth Schooner, a free African-American woman, from whom he separated and later divorced, causing a minor scandal. Together they had three daughters. From 1836 to about 1845, Brown made his home in Buffalo, New York, where he served as a conductor for the Underground Railroad and as a steam boatman on Lake Erie, a position he used to ferry escaped slaves to freedom in Canada. There Brown became active in the abolitionist movement by joining several anti-slavery societies and the Negro Convention Movement.

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Clotel; or the President's Daughter 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is mostly a political thesis with no backup. It is presented in a disjointed story form seemingly only to make it okay to present information without backing it up.