Clotel: Or, the President's Daughter [NOOK Book]

Overview

William Wells Brown's Clotel or, The President's Daughter is often considered the first novel by an African-American. When the book was published, Brown himself was legally the property of someone else within the United States, having escaped from slavery in Kentucky when he was younger. In this story President Thomas Jefferson and his former mulatto mistress Currer have had two daughters together: Althesea and Clotel. When their master passes away, their relatively comfortable lives are swept away and Currer and...

See more details below
Clotel: Or, the President's Daughter

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$4.49
BN.com price
(Save 10%)$4.99 List Price
Marketplace
BN.com

All Available Formats & Editions

Overview

William Wells Brown's Clotel or, The President's Daughter is often considered the first novel by an African-American. When the book was published, Brown himself was legally the property of someone else within the United States, having escaped from slavery in Kentucky when he was younger. In this story President Thomas Jefferson and his former mulatto mistress Currer have had two daughters together: Althesea and Clotel. When their master passes away, their relatively comfortable lives are swept away and Currer and Althesea are bought by the harsh slave trader Dick Walker.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A remarkable beginning for African-American fiction."
--Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781775411192
  • Publisher: The Floating Press
  • Publication date: 5/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 1,374,451
  • File size: 249 KB

Meet the Author


William Wells Brown (1814 - 1884) was born a slave in Kentucky. In 1834, he escaped to Ohio before moving to New York, and later, Great Britain. His novel, Clotel, is widely recognized as the first to be written by an African-American.

READER BIO
JD Jackson is currently an Adjunct Professor at Los Angeles Southwest College. He has an MFA in Theater from Temple University and several TV and movie credits to his name including roles on House MD, ER, Law & Order, Third Watch, and Lucky Number Slevin.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


The Negro Sale.


"Why stands she near the auction stand,
That girl so young and fair?
What brings her to this dismal place,
Why stands she weeping there?"


With the growing population of slaves in the Southern States of America,
there is a fearful increase of half whites, most of whose fathers are
slaveowners, and their mothers slaves. Society does not frown upon the man
who sits with his mulatto child upon his knee, whilst its mother stands a
slave behind his chair. The late Henry Clay, some years since, predicted
that the abolition of Negro slavery would be brought about by the
amalgamation of the races. John Randolph, a distinguished slaveholder of
Virginia, and a prominent statesman, said in a speech in the legislature of
his native state, that "the blood of the first American statesmen coursed
through the veins of the slave of the South." In all the cities and towns
of the slave states, the real Negro, or clear black, does not amount to
more than one in every four of the slave population. This fact is, of
itself, the best evidence of the degraded and immoral condition of the
relation of master and slave in the United States of America.


In all the slave states, the law says:?"Slaves shall be deemed, sold
[held], taken, reputed, and adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the
hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators
and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever. A
slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. The master
may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, and hislabour. He can
do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything, but what must belong to
his master. The slave is entirely subject to the will of his master, who
may correct and chastise him, though not with unusual rigour, or so as to
maim and mutilate him, or expose him to the danger of loss of life, or to
cause his death. The slave, to remain a slave, must be sensible that there
is no appeal from his master." Where the slave is placed by law entirely
under the control of the man who claims him, body and soul, as property,
what else could be expected than the most depraved social condition? The
marriage relation, the oldest and most sacred institution given to man by
his Creator, is unknown and unrecognised in the slave laws of the United
States. Would that we could say, that the moral and religious teaching in
the slave states were better than the laws; but, alas! we cannot. A few
years since, some slaveholders became a little uneasy in their minds about
the rightfulness of permitting slaves to take to themselves husbands and
wives, while they still had others living, and applied to their religious
teachers for advice; and the following will show how this grave and
important subject was treated:?


"Is a servant, whose husband or wife has been sold by his or her master
into a distant country, to be permitted to marry again?"


The query was referred to a committee, who made the following report;
which, after discussion, was adopted:?


"That, in view of the circumstances in which servants in this country are
placed, the committee are unanimous in the opinion, that it is better to
permit servants thus circumstanced to take another husband or wife."

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Part I: Clotel; or, The President's Daughter : The Complete Text
• Introduction: Cultural and Historical Background
• Part II: Clotel; or The President's Daughter : Cultural Contexts
• Sources and Revisions
• Race, Slavery, Prejudice
• Resistance and Reform

Part I: Clotel; or, The President's Daughter : The Complete Text
• Introduction: Cultural and Historical Background
• Part II: Clotel; or The President's Daughter : Cultural Contexts
• Sources and Revisions
• Race, Slavery, Prejudice
• Resistance and Reform

Read More Show Less

Reading Group Guide

1. As William Wells Brown himself notes, Clotel is a text that freely borrows from and conjoins other texts, including Lydia Marie Child's "The Quadroon" (1842) and Brown's own writings. As he writes in his "Conclusion, " "To Ms. Child I am indebted for part of a short story. Abolitionist journals are another source from whence some of the characters appearing in my narrative are taken. All these combined have made up my story." What do you think of Brown's technique of assembling and reassembling, of appropriation, recombination, and recontextualization?

2. Clotel is the first novel written by an African American. What legacy or influence do you think it has had on subsequent work? Can you think of more recent novels that you can compare in some way to Clotel?

3. The story that Thomas Jefferson's illegitimate mulatto daughter had been sold into slavery was current during Brown's life. Why do you think he made use of this story as the central motif of Clotel? How does Jefferson's own intellectual biography-he was the primary author of the Declaration of Independence, among other things-play into the novel?

4. Brown's own narrative, which forms the first part of Clotel, works, in the words of Robert Stepto, as "a rhetorical device, authenticating [Brown's] access to the incidents, characters, scenes, and tales, which collectively make up Clotel." What is your response to this narrative strategy? How do you think it affects the subsequent narrative?

5. How does the knowledge that Brown, an escaped slave, the first black novelist and playwright in America, and a prominent and important man of lettersand abolitionist, inform your reading of Clotel? Would your reaction to it be different had it been written by, say, a white abolitionist?

6. Arna Bontemps quotes Saunders Redding as characterizing Brown as someone who reflected "the temper and the opinion of the Negro in those years . . . the most representative Negro of the age." Judging from Clotel and any other writings of the period you are familiar with, discuss in what ways Brown seems to be "representative."

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2012

    Clotel

    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.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)