Rethinking The Slave Narrative by Charles J. Heglar, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Rethinking The Slave Narrative

Rethinking The Slave Narrative

by Charles J. Heglar
     
 

The African American slave narrative is popularly viewed as the story of a lone male's flight from slavery to freedom, best exemplified by the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845). On the other hand, critics have also given much attention to Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), to indicate how

Overview

The African American slave narrative is popularly viewed as the story of a lone male's flight from slavery to freedom, best exemplified by the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845). On the other hand, critics have also given much attention to Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), to indicate how the form could have been different if more women had written in it. But in stressing the narratives of Douglass and Jacobs as models for the genre, scholars have ignored the formal and thematic importance of marriage and family in the slave narrative, since neither author explores slave marriage in their works.

This book examines the central role of marriage in The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave (1849) and Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom; or the Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (1860). Bibb's slave wife and child account for significant innovations in the form and content of his narrative, while the Crafts' mutual dependence as a married couple results in a sustained use of dramatic irony. The volume closes by offering a thoughtful consideration of the influence of Bibb and the Crafts on the later fiction of Douglass, William Wells Brown, and Martin Delany. In doing so, it invites a critical reexamination of current assumptions about slave narratives.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
As the slave narrative has risen from the margins to the center of African American and American literature and culture over the past three decades, Frederick Douglass' 1845 version has been held as the standard against which others were compared. Heglar (English, U. of South Florida) thinks that doing so has led to a lack of appreciation for other slave narratives with themes and narrative strategies very different from his. He focuses on the thematic and formal importance of slave marriage in the two narratives he analyzes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313318757
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
05/30/2001
Series:
Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies: Contemporary Black Poets Series
Pages:
182
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.44(d)
Lexile:
1520L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

CHARLES J. HEGLAR is Assistant Professor of English at the University of South Florida./e His articles have appeared in such journals as ANQ, Armchair Detective, CrossRoads, Thackeray Newsletter, and the CLA Journal. He has also published an edition of The Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, An American Slave (2000).

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