The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel (Hardback)Julia Sun-Joo Lee
Hardback Published: 29/04/2010
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The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel investigates the shaping influence of the American slave narrative on the Victorian novel in the years between the British Abolition Act and the American Emancipation Proclamation. In a period when few books sold more than five hundred copies, slave narratives sold in the tens of thousands, providing British readers vivid accounts of the violence and privation experienced by American slaves. The book argues that Charlotte Bronte, W. M. Thackeray, Elizabeth Gaskell, Charles Dickens, and Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson integrated into their works generic elements of the slave narrative, from the emphasis on literacy as a tool of liberation, to the teleological journey from slavery to freedom, to the ethics of resistance over submission. It contends that Victorian novelists were attempting to access the slave narrative's paradigm of resistance, illuminate the transnational dimension of slavery, and articulate Britain's role in the global community. The slave narrative becomes part of the textual network of the English novel, making visible how black literary, as well as economic, production contributed to English culture.
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc