The Slave's Rebellion: Literature, History, Orature

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Overview

Episodes of slave rebellions such as Nat Turner’s are central to speculations on the trajectory of black history and the goal of black spiritual struggles. Using fiction, history, and oral poetry drawn from the United States, the Caribbean, and Africa, this book analyzes how writers reinterpret episodes of historical slave rebellion to conceptualize their understanding of an ideal "master-less" future. The texts range from Frederick Douglass’s The Heroic Slave and Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of this World to Yoruba praise poetry and novels by Nigerian writers Adebayo Faleti and Akinwumi Isola. Each text reflects different "national" attitudes toward the historicity of slave rebellions that shape the ways the texts are read. This is an absorbing book about the grip of slavery and rebellion on modern black thought.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice
"Adéèkó... makes a valuable contribution to studies of the black diaspora by drawing together observations of slave rebellions from the US, Africa, and the Caribbean." —Choice, June 2006
Choice - C. A. Bily
With this volume, Adéèkó (Adeeko) (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) makes a valuable contribution to studies of the black diaspora by drawing together observations of slave rebellions from the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. As he did in Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature (1998), the author reads widely in oral and written literatures. He argues that, because accounts of antislavery violence tend to look to both the past and the future, they are uniquely useful in revealing a continuing arc of black intellectual thought. Beginning with African American fiction from before the Civil War and continuing through Reconstruction and into the anticolonial movement that spread through Africa and the Caribbean in the mid, 20th century, Adéèkó (Adeeko) applies Hegel's allegory of lordship and bondage to a consideration of texts by Nat Turner, Charles Chesnutt, Arna Bontemps, C. L. R. James, Alejo Carpentier, et al., and also of Yoruba oriki (praise poetry). His conclusion, that stories of slave rebellions can inform a corrective to the intellectual passivity of black poststructuralism, is satisfying and well earned. Like many works of postcolonial criticism, this volume is marked by language dense with the jargon of critical theory. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.C. A. Bily, Adrian College, Choice, June 2006
From the Publisher
With this volume, Adeeko (Adeeko) (Univ. of Colorado, Boulder) makes a valuable contribution to studies of the black diaspora by drawing together observations of slave rebellions from the US, Africa, and the Caribbean. As he did in Proverbs, Textuality, and Nativism in African Literature (1998), the author reads widely in oral and written literatures. He argues that, because accounts of antislavery violence tend to look to both the past and the future, they are uniquely useful in revealing a continuing arc of black intellectual thought. Beginning with African American fiction from before the Civil War and continuing through Reconstruction and into the anticolonial movement that spread through Africa and the Caribbean in the mid, 20th century, Adeeko (Adeeko) applies Hegel's allegory of lordship and bondage to a consideration of texts by Nat Turner, Charles Chesnutt, Arna Bontemps, C. L. R. James, Alejo Carpentier, et al., and also of Yoruba oriki (praise poetry). His conclusion, that stories of slave rebellions can inform a corrective to the intellectual passivity of black poststructuralism, is satisfying and well earned. Like many works of postcolonial criticism, this volume is marked by language dense with the jargon of critical theory. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students, researchers, faculty.

—C. A. Bily, Adrian College "Choice" (01/01/2006)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253217776
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Series: Blacks in the Diaspora Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Adélékè Adéèkó is Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

1 Hegel's burden : the slave's counter violence in philosophy, critical theory, and literature 9
2 Nat Turner and plot making in early African American fiction 22
3 Reverse abolitionism and black popular resistance : The marrow of tradition 50
4 Slave rebellion, the Great Depression, and the "turbulence to come" for capitalism : Black thunder 66
5 Distilling proverbs of history from the Haitian war of independence : The black Jacobins 84
6 Slave rebellion and magical realism : The kingdom of this world 104
7 Slavery in African literary discourse : orality contra realism in Yoruba Oriki and Omo Olokun Esin 121
8 Prying rebellious subaltern consciousness out of the clenched jaws of oral traditions : Efunsetan Aniwura 145
9 Reiterating the black experience : rebellious material bodies and their textual fates in Dessa Rose 157
Conclusion : what is the meaning of slave rebellion 172
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