Focusing on slave narratives from the Atlantic world of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this interdisciplinary collection of essays suggests the importanceeven the necessityof looking beyond the iconic and ubiquitous works of Olaudah Equiano, Frederick Douglass, and Harriet Jacobs. In granting sustained critical attention to writers such as Briton Hammon, Omar Ibn Said, Juan Francisco Manzano, Nat Turner, and Venture Smith, among others, this book makes a crucial contribution not only to scholarship on the slave narrative but also to our understanding of early African American and Black Atlantic literature.
The essays explore the social and cultural contexts, the aesthetic and rhetorical techniques, and the political and ideological features of these noncanonical texts. By concentrating on earlier slave narratives not only from the United States but from the Caribbean, South America, and Latin America as well, the volume highlights the inherent transnationality of the genre, illuminating its complex cultural origins and global circulation.
About the Author
Nicole N. Aljoe, author of Creole Testimonies: Slave Narratives from the British West Indies, 1709–1838, is Associate Professor of English at Northeastern University. Ian Finseth, author of Shades of Green: Visions of Nature in the Literature of American Slavery, 1770-1860, is Associate Professor of English at the University of North Texas.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Remapping the Early Slave Narrative Nicole N. Aljoe 1
Irony and Modernity in the Early Slave Narrative: Bonds of Duty, Contracts of Meaning Ian Finseth 17
Trials and Confessions of Fugitive Slave Narratives Gretchen J. Woertendyke 47
"They Us'd Me Pretty Well": Briton Hammon and Cross-Cultural Alliances in the Maritime Borderlands of the Florida Coast Jeffrey Gagnon 74
Uncommon Sufferings: Rethinking Bondage in A Narrative of the Uncommon Sufferings, and Surprizing Deliverance of Briton Hammon, a Negro Man Keith Michael Green 101
Narrating an Indigestible Trauma: The Alimentary Grammar of Boyrereau Brinch's Middle Passage Lynn R. Johnson 127
"The Most Perfect Picture of Cuban Slavery": Transatlantic Bricolage in Manzano's and Madden's Poems by a Slave R.J. Boutelle 143
Seeking a Righteous King: A Bahamian Runaway Slave in Cuba José Guadalupe Ortega 171
Literary Form and Islamic Identity in The Life of Omar Ibn Said Basima Kamel Shaheen 187
Coda: Animating Absence Kristina Bross 209
Notes on Contributors 225