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African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology Volume I written by Sterling Lecater Bland

 

African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology Volume I written by Sterling Lecater Bland

Overview:

African American slave narratives of the 19th century recorded the atrocities of the antebellum South and provided a solid foundation for the African American literary tradition. By presenting 16 slave narratives in their entirety, this reference conveniently documents this historically significant literary genre. A vivid and moving history of African Americans seeking to establish community, liberty, economic independence, and education within the constraints of a repressive society. This reference intentionally avoids well-known narratives and instead collects unavailable and otherwise difficult-to-find texts. To add to the value of the work for researchers and general readers alike, each narrative is accompanied by a preface, explanatory notes, and suggestions for further reading.

Many of the narratives gathered here were influential when initially published; Josiah Henson's presentation of himself, for example, embodies many of the characteristics given to Uncle Tom by Harriet Beecher Stowe in her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. While other collections often only provide excerpts from widely available texts, this reference includes complete narratives. The introductions and annotations redefine current thinking in the field by closely examining how these authors used language, structured their writing, and crafted their autobiographies. By examining the historical, cultural, literary, and social issues that African Americans have faced since their arrival, this reference provides the broad context necessary to understand the literary, social, and intellectual traditions from which these writings developed.

Synopsis:

Presents in their entirety 16 19th-century African American slave narratives, each accompanied by a preface, explanatory notes, and suggestions for further reading.

Booknews

Slave narratives formed an important literary genre in mid- 19th century America playing a role both in the changing of opinion on the issue of American slavery and in the formation of the continuing themes and concerns of African American literature in general. The best known of the 77 published slave narratives is the work of , but Bland (literature, Rutgers U.) believes that many of the lesser known works are well worth studying and here brings together 16 unexpurgated narratives. For each narrative he provides contextualizing historical and thematic information. Among the more interesting entries are , the insurrectionary leader; the narrative of Henry Walton Bibb, a man who, after gaining his freedom, went back to slavery in an effort to free his mother; and the dictation of Lewis Clarke, who became the model for Harriet Beecher Stowe's character George Harris in . Bland has changed only what he saw as obvious errors in an effort to present the works in a form as close to the original published versions as possible. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Title: African American Slave Narratives: An Anthology Volume I

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