Search results

Racial Discourse in Mary Shelley‘s Frankenstein
Allan Lloyd Smith

This article examines the effects of early anthropological accounts of other races in producing tropes for monstrosity in the Gothic, such as we see in Frankenstein where the monster, although not of any known race since he is hybridly created from parts of dead bodies, shares features with popular accounts of the racially other, echoes Haitian slave rebellion violence in his responses to ill treatment, and achieves his literacy and independence in the manner of popular slave narratives. Gothic tropes were sometimes employed in anti-slavery narratives such as Uncle Tom‘s Cabin, and many of the descriptions of brutality and terror in realist slave narratives are properly to be considered Gothic (and may in fact borrow from gothic fictional techniques). Slavery itself could be argued to outdo the Gothic in its actuality, as well as serving as a source for gothic fantasy. This provokes a rethinking of the now conventional assumption that Frankenstein‘s acknowledgement of responsibility for his creature implies that it does his unconscious bidding; on the contrary, Frankenstein admits his responsibility as a slaveholder might for the actions of his slave, but without in any way endorsing them.

Gothic Studies
Prison, Slavery and Other Horrors in The Bondwomans Narrative
Jason Haslam

Haslam reads The Bondwoman‘s Narrative through the lens of the gothic literary tradition, as framed by Jerrold Hogle, and its relations to slave narratives, as discussed by Teresa Goddu. Specifically, the novel uses the gothic, in part, as slave narratives traditionally do: to depict the brutality and horror of the violence of slavery. But Crafts transforms this use of the gothic into a direct attack on the slave owners themselves. Crafts situates the generalities of the gothic tradition within American slavery, writing a gothic narrative that - to transform Hogle‘s analysis - exposes the ‘brutal concreteness’ of slavery while depicting the ‘pervasively counterfeit existence’ of white superiority.

Gothic Studies
Abstract only
Dental Degeneracy and the Savage Mouth
Clayton Carlyle Tarr

At roughly the same time that dentistry became a respected profession, teeth became a sign of biological origin. In the nineteenth century, long, white, uniform teeth signalled the threat of degeneracy, a counter narrative to evolution predicated on humanity‘s decline into a primitive, animalistic state. We can trace this anxiety through depictions of native people‘s teeth in travel narratives, slave narratives, and accounts of the auction block. The distinctly menacing mouths of white characters, such as Poe‘s Berenice and Dickens‘s Carker, draw on the fear of degeneracy— a threat to Western civilisation that coalesces in depictions of the vampiric mouth.

Gothic Studies
Open Access (free)
Janet Beer and Bridget Bennett

American intervention in Scottish politics, all the more shocking coming from the world-famous author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. R.J. Ellis’s essay considers the inventive use that Harriet Wilson makes of the slave narrative in Our Nig. Wilson, an African-American woman, was unfamiliar with the conventions of the pastoral so that her revelation of ‘pastoralism’s underlying rural class structure’ foregrounds issues that have been traditionally under-represented or ignored in that genre – most strikingly, questions of gender and race. Ellis invokes Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cousin

in Special relationships
Abigail Ward

Hogarth’s prints. Now an old man, Mungo is reluctantly speaking his tale to Mr Pringle from the Abolition Society, in return for basic necessities. Slave narratives were instrumental to the abolitionist movement. As Paul Edwards and David Dabydeen argue in Black Writers in Britain 1760–1890 (1991): Personal survival and advancement apart, the literate black contributed directly to the liberation of his fellow Africans. Black autobiographies and testimonies formed an essential weapon in the arsenal of the

in Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D’Aguiar
Passing, racial identity and the literary marketplace
Sinéad Moynihan

. As Laura Browder argues, the power of slave testimony lay in its representative rather than in its individual value, the message being that the institution of slavery itself is inherently wrong, not just the mistreatment of individual slaves at the hands of individual slaveholders. For this to be understood, slave narratives needed to be written in a form which is recognisable to and comfortable for a white readership. Thus, while the value of a slave narrative rested on its authenticity, ‘authenticity depended on strict adherence to a set of generic conventions

in Passing into the present
Orphans learn and remember in African American novels
Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella and Helena Wahlström

Mitchell, drawing explicitly on Gates, links intertextuality to the construction of rememory and the ‘replaying of selected images’ (2002: 12) in what she calls liberatory narratives – neo-slave narratives or historical novels of slavery. Processing the meanings held in literary techniques is an artistic endeavor, but, as Mitchell indicates, it is also an epistemological one, gaining and producing knowledge about self and other, about individual and shared pasts. For this reason, in discussing Morrison’s A Mercy, as well as Butler’s and Gomez’s novels, we employ the

in Making home
Abstract only
Maria Holmgren Troy, Elizabeth Kella and Helena Wahlström

, questioning, challenging, affirming, or revisioning what it means to live in the USA. In a similar fashion, orphan figures challenge, but also reaffirm ideas about American literature. One central idea advanced throughout Making Home has been that literary genres carry cultural memory and historically specific meanings. The genres we investigate are strongly connected to American nationhood, some because they are unique to this national context, like the captivity tale and the slave narrative; others because they have gained distinctive national inflections. All, however

in Making home
Abigail Ward

augmenting the continuum of neo-slave narratives. 4 Marianne Hirsch has coined the term ‘postmemory’ as a way of explaining what she calls the belated ‘memories’ experienced by those who did not directly witness traumatic events. 5 Postmemory, as Hirsch uses it, is applicable to what she calls the ‘second generation’ of trauma witnesses; that is, the children of Holocaust survivors. This is not, therefore, a term referring to mn ē m ē , or living memories; as Hirsch adds, the name ‘postmemory’ is intended to indicate ‘its secondary or second-generation memory quality

in Caryl Phillips, David Dabydeen and Fred D’Aguiar
Yvette Hutchison

example I turn to consider how the histories and memories of Cape coloureds are being re-examined, particularly with reference to slave narratives, in the process of their renegotiating their identity and sense of belonging in South Africa. The term ‘coloured’ is used to refer to South Africans of mixed racial background, usually from South-east Asian, European or AfricanEuropean backgrounds. There is much debate about this definition of racial identity: Zimitri Erasmus and Edgar Pieterse (1999) and Erasmus (2001) have traced the evolution of the term and argue that it

in South African performance and archives of memory