The Word in Black and White: Reading Race in American Literature, 1638-1867

The Word in Black and White: Reading Race in American Literature, 1638-1867

by Stephanie Nelson, Dana D. Nelson, Dana Nelson
     
 

Nelson provides a study of the ways in which Anglo-American authors constructed "race" in their works from the time of the first British colonists through the period of the Civil War. She focuses on some eleven texts, ranging from widely-known to little-considered, that deal with the relations among Native, African, and Anglo-Americans, and places her

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Overview

Nelson provides a study of the ways in which Anglo-American authors constructed "race" in their works from the time of the first British colonists through the period of the Civil War. She focuses on some eleven texts, ranging from widely-known to little-considered, that deal with the relations among Native, African, and Anglo-Americans, and places her readings in the historical, social, and material contexts of an evolving U.S. colonialism and internal imperialism. Nelson shows how a novel such as The Last of the Mohicans sought to reify the Anglo historical past and simultaneously suggested strategies that would serve Anglo-Americans against Native Americans as the frontier pushed further west. Concluding her work with a reading of Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Nelson shows how that text undercuts the racist structures of the pre-Civil War period by positing a revised model of sympathy that authorizes alternative cultural perspectives and requires Anglo-Americans to question their own involvement with racism.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195065923
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
01/28/1992
Pages:
208
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.56(h) x 0.89(d)

Table of Contents

1.An Uncommon Need: "Race" in Early American Literature3
2.Economies of Morality and Power: Reading "Race" in Two Colonial Texts22
3.Romancing the Border: Bird, Cooper, Simms, and the Frontier Novel38
4.W/Righting History: Sympathy as Strategy in Hope Leslie and A Romance of the Republic65
5.Ethnocentrism Decentered: Colonial Motives in The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym90
6."For the Gaze of the Whites": The Crisis of the Subject in "Benito Cereno"109
7."Read the Characters, Question the Motives": Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl131
Notes147
Bibliography169
Index185

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