The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel by Julia Sun-Joo Lee

By Julia Sun-Joo Lee

Conceived as a literary shape to aggressively publicize the abolitionist reason within the usa, the African American slave narrative continues to be a strong and illuminating demonstration of America's darkish background. but the genre's influence prolonged a ways past the borders of the united states In a interval while few books offered greater than copies, slave narratives bought within the tens of millions, delivering British readers shiny bills of the violence and privation skilled through American slaves. Eloquent, bracing narratives through Frederick Douglass, William field Brown, Solomon Northrop, and others loved exceptional reputation, beautiful audiences that integrated activists, newshounds, and a few of the era's maximum novelists.The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel investigates the shaping impression of the yankee slave narrative at the Victorian novel within the years among the British Abolition Act and the yankee Emancipation Proclamation. The booklet argues that Charlotte Bront?, W. M. Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, and Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson built-in into their works general parts of the slave narrative-from the emphasis on literacy as a device of liberation, to the teleological trip from slavery to freedom, to the ethics of resistance over submission. It contends that Victorian novelists used those tropes in an try to entry the slave narrative's paradigm of resistance, remove darkness from the transnational measurement of slavery, and articulate Britain's position within the worldwide group. via a deft use of disparate resources, Lee unearths how the slave narrative turns into a part of the textual community of the English novel, making seen how black literary, in addition to financial, creation contributed to English culture.Lucidly written, richly researched, and cogently argued, Julia Sun-Joo Lee's insightful monograph makes a useful contribution to students of yankee literary background, African American literature, and the Victorian novel, as well as highlighting the colourful transatlantic alternate of rules that illuminated literatures on either side of the Atlantic in the course of the 19th century.

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Moreover, the young Jane Eyre sounds like a slave narrator, using the rhetorical devices so successfully deployed by Frederick Douglass, the slave narrator whose literary voice Jane most closely approximates. What critics have identified as elements of the spiritual autobiography in Jane Eyre can be traced to the slave narrative’s reinscription of that form. 32 Each location is allegorically linked to some form of physical or mental tyranny, a formulation that nicely lends itself to Jane Eyre’s episodic structure.

There, he met the abolitionist George Thompson, a former member of the House of Commons. ”23 Then there was the most famous fugitive slave of all, Frederick Douglass, whose narrative was first published in America in 1845. He fled immediately afterward to England, where his movements were covered by major newspapers as well as the provincial press. 24 Did Brontë know about these American slaves? Did she hear them speak? Did she read their narratives? These are difficult questions to answer, but there is some enticing evidence to suggest that she did.

My habitual mood of humiliation, self-doubt, forlorn depression, fell damp on the embers of my decaying ire” (13). Jane’s subsequent bout of hysteria represents her definitive return to the realm of the gothic. 39 The gothic is only one of many genres that Jane experiments with during this childhood period. She recalls how easily frightened and seduced she is by the ghost stories and romances related by Bessie, and she eagerly absorbs the “passages of love and adventure taken from old fairy tales and older ballads; or (as at a later period I discovered) from the pages of ‘Pamela,’ and ‘Henry, Earl of Moreland’ ” (7).

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