The Slave's Narrative / Edition 1

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These autobiographies of Afro-American ex-slaves comprise the largest body of literature produced by slaves in human history. The book consists of three sections: selected reviews of slave narratives, dating from 1750 to 1861; essays examining how such narratives serve as historical material; and essays exploring the narratives as literary artifacts.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An impressive collection."—The New York Times Book Review

"Excellent text for a sourcebook-course in origins of black literature. The inclusion of critical essays is a plus."—George Klawitter, Viterbo College

"A valuable reference for students who are doing papers on narrative tradition, autobiography, etc."—Fahamisha Patricia Brown, Boston College

"A valuable compilation of important historical documents that add greatly to our understanding of America's past and present."—Don Evans, Trenton State College

"Impressive and essential, this text remains one of the most authoritative scholarly collections on the subject."—Joycelyn Moody, University of Washington

"The most sophisticated and comprehensive book we have yet on the central issue facing students of nineteenth-century Afro-American literature: the question of how to analyze and evaluate the autobiographical tradition of the ex-slave."—Black American Literature Forum

"This attractive anthology has several excerpts that I have been unable to find in a brief collection suitable for a class. It will provide specific background for a Black literature or history course....I find it completely useful for a survey of African American literature."—David B. Merrell, Abilene Christian University

"An excellent tool for teachers of black history."—Darrell Millner, Portland State University

"Provides the reader with a sensitive explanation and analysis of the autobiographical narratives written or dictated by ex-slaves of African descent from 1750 to the twentieth century....This volume is a welcome addition to the constantly growing body of scholarly literature on the institution of slavery as it was seen from the slave's point of view."—Florida Historical Quarterly

"This collection is indispensable for historians and literary critics, as well as anyone interested in slavery and autobiography."—Bookletter/Southeast

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195066562
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 2/28/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Lexile: 1740L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.13 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Language of Slavery xi
1. Written by Themselves: Views and Reviews, 1750-1861
The Life of Job Ben Solomon 4
The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African; Written by Himself 5
The Life and Adventures of a Fugitive Slave 6
Narrative of James Williams 8
The Narrative of Juan Manzano 15
Narratives of Fugitive Slaves 19
Life of Henry Bibb 28
The Life and Bondage of Frederick Douglass 30
Kidnapped and Ransomed 31
Linda: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself 32
2. The Slave Narratives as History
On Dialect Usage 37
The Art and Science of Reading WPA Slave Narratives 40
History from Slave Sources 48
Charles Chesnutt and the WPA Narratives: The Oral and Literate Roots of Afro-American Literature 59
Using the Testimony of Ex-Slaves: Approaches and Problems 78
Plantation Factories and the Slave Work Ethic 98
The Making of a Fugitive Slave Narrative: Josiah Henson and Uncle Tom--A Case Study 112
3. The Slave Narratives as Literature
"I Was Born": Slave Narratives, Their Status as Autobiography and as Literature 148
Three West African Writers of the 1780s 175
Crushed Geraniums: Juan Francisco Manzano and the Language of Slavery 199
I Rose and Found My Voice: Narration, Authentication, and Authorial Control in Four Slave Narratives 225
Autobiographical Acts and the Voice of the Southern Slave 242
Text and Contexts of Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself 262
The Slave Narrators and the Picaresque Mode: Archetypes for Modern Black Personae 283
Singing Swords: The Literary Legacy of Slavery 298
Bibliography 319
Index 331
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