In Search of Hannah Crafts: Critical Essays on The Bondwoman's Narrative

Overview

Three years ago, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discovered an unpublished manuscript, The Bondwoman's Narrative, By Hannah Crafts, A Fugitive Recently Escaped From North Carolina, which turned out to be the first novel by a female African-American slave ever found, and possibly the first novel written by a black women anywhere. The Bondwoman's Narrative was published in 2002. In Search of Hannah Crafts now brings together twenty-two authorities on African-American studies to examine such issues as authenticity, and the ...
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Overview

Three years ago, Henry Louis Gates, Jr. discovered an unpublished manuscript, The Bondwoman's Narrative, By Hannah Crafts, A Fugitive Recently Escaped From North Carolina, which turned out to be the first novel by a female African-American slave ever found, and possibly the first novel written by a black women anywhere. The Bondwoman's Narrative was published in 2002. In Search of Hannah Crafts now brings together twenty-two authorities on African-American studies to examine such issues as authenticity, and the history and criticism of this unique novel, including Nina Baym, Jean Fagan Yellin, William Andrews, Lawrence Buell, Karen Sanchez-Eppler and Shelley Fisher-Fishkin. The Bondwoman's Narrative will take its place in the African-American canon, and In Search of Hannah Crafts is the book that scholars and students of African-American Studies, of women writers, and of slavery, need to have to understand this unprecedented historical and literary event.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The manuscript of Hannah Crafts's The Bondwoman's Narrative-reputedly the first novel by a female African American slave ever found-was discovered two years ago by eminent African American studies scholar Gates Jr. This collection of critical essays on the novel, edited by Gates and Robbins (director, Black Periodic Literature Project, W.E.B. DuBois Inst., Harvard) is a significant contribution to slave narrative and early American literature scholarship. Grouped into five categories, the essays explore the place of the novel in the literary marketplace, particularly within the genres of the slave narrative, the sentimental novel, and the Gothic novel; the novel's relationship with canonical texts like Bleak House and Jane Eyre; the theological, legal, moral, and cultural contexts of pre-Civil War American life as reflected in the novel; the novel's position in the emerging subgenre of African American Gothic; and Hannah Craft's own identity. The contributors, well-known authorities on African American studies (e.g., Nina Baym, Jean Fagan Yellin, William Andrews, and Lawrence Buell), argue that Crafts's novel is at once art and chronicle, containing both a fairy-tale ending and historical facts. They also hold that the novel has changed our view of antebellum literature because it reveals the real conditions of servitude and negritude. Essential for all African American collections.-Aparna Zambare, Central Michigan Univ. Libs., Mount Pleasant Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465027088
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 11/29/2004
  • Pages: 480
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.92 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author


Henry Louis Gates Jr. is W.E.B. Du Bois Professor of Humanities, chair of the Afro-American Studies Department, and director of the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for Afro-American Research at Harvard University. Hollis Robbins, a doctoral candidate at Princeton University, received a Masters in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is author of Flushing Away Sentiment: Water Politics in Edith Wharton's The Custom of the Country. She lives in Princeton, New Jersey.
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Table of Contents

Introduction to the Critical Essay Collection
1 "A Silent Unobtrusive Way": Hannah Crafts and the Literary Marketplace 3
2 Bondwoman Unbound: Hannah Crafts's Art and Nineteenth-Century U.S. Literature Practice 16
3 Hannah Crafts's Sense of an Ending 30
4 Hannah Crafts, Novelist; or, How a Silent Observer Became a "Dabster at Invention" 43
5 The Problem of Freedom in The Bondwoman's Narrative 53
6 Blackening Bleak House: Hannah Crafts's The Bondwoman's Narrative 71
7 Jane Eyre, Bondwoman: Hannah Crafts's Rethinking of Charlotte Bronte 87
8 The Bondwoman's Narrative and Uncle Tom's Cabin 106
9 The Bondwoman's Escape: Hannah Crafts Rewrites the First Play Published by an African American 117
10 Mrs. Henry's "Solemn Promise" in Historical Perspective 129
11 "I Dwell Now in a Neat Little Cottage": Architecture, Race, and Desire in The Bondwoman's Narrative 145
12 Godly Rebellion in The Bondwoman's Narrative 175
13 The Art of Ghost-Writing: Memory, Materiality, and Slave Aesthetics 195
14 Hannah crafts 213
15 "I found a life of freedom all my fancy had pictured it to be": Hannah Crafts's Visual Speculation and the Inner Life of Slavery 231
16 Gothic Liberties and Fugitive Novels: The Bondwoman's Narrative and the Fiction of Race 254
17 Trappe(d): Race and Genealogical Haunting in The Bondwoman's Narrative 276
18 "Don't speak dearest, it will make you worse": The Bondwoman's Narrative, the Afro-American Literary Tradition, and the Trope of the Lying Book 295
19 The Case for Hannah Vincent 315
20 The Outsider Within: The Acquisition and Application of Forms of Oppositional Knowledge in Hannah Crafts's The Bondwoman's Narrative 332
21 The Bondwoman and the Bureaucrat 354
22 Jane Johnson, Found! But Is She "Hannah Crafts"? The Search for the Author of The Bondwoman's Narrative 371
23 Searching for Hannah Crafts 406
24 The Bondwoman's Narrative: An 1850s Account of Slave Life 419
25 The Shape of Absence 422
26 Literary Blackface 431
27 Desperate Measures 439
About the Authors 443
Index 447
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