OBI / Edition 1 available in Paperback
“Three-Fingered Jack,” the protagonist of this 1800 novel, is based on the escaped slave and Jamaican folk hero Jack Mansong, who was believed to have gained his strength from the Afro-Caribbean religion of obeah, or “obi.” His story, told in an inventive mix of styles, is a rousing and sympathetic account of an individual’s attempt to combat slavery while defending family honour. Historically significant for its portrayal of a slave rebellion and of the practice of obeah, Obi is also a fast-paced and lively novel, blending religion, politics, and romance.
This Broadview edition includes a critical introduction and a selection of contemporary documents, including historical and literary treatments of obeah and accounts of an eighteenth-century slave rebellion.
About the Author
Srinivas Aravamudan teaches eighteenth-century literature and post-colonial studies at Duke University, where he is the director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. He is the author of Tropicopolitans: Colonialism and Agency, 1688-1804 (Duke University Press) and of Guru English: South Asian Religion in a Cosmopolitan Language (Princeton University Press).
Table of Contents
Timeline of Historical and Literary Events Surrounding New World Slavery, Abolitionism, and Obeah, 1492-1838
A Note on the Text
Obi; or, the History of Three-fingered Jack
Appendix A: Historical Sources on Obeah
- From Benjamin Moseley, A Treatise on Sugar (1799)
- From House of Commons Sessional Papers (1789)
- From Matthew Gregory Lewis, Journal of a West India Proprietor, Kept During a Residence in the Island of Jamaica (1834)
Appendix B: Accounts of Tacky’s Rebellion (1760)
- From Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (1774)
- From Bryan Edwards, Observations on the Disposition, Character, Manners, and Habits of Life, of the Maroons (1796)
Appendix C: Literary Treatments of Obeah
- From James Grainger, The Sugar Cane: A Poem. In Four Books (1764)
- John Fawcett, Obi; or,Three-Finger’d Jack: A Serio-Pantomime, in Two Acts (1800)
- From Maria Edgeworth, “The Grateful Negro,” Popular Tales (1804)