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.
Prison, Slavery and Other Horrors in The Bondwomans Narrative
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.
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.
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 slavenarrative 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
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.
Slavenarratives 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
Passing, racial identity and the literary marketplace
. 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, slavenarratives needed to be written in a form which is recognisable to and comfortable for a white readership. Thus, while the value of a slavenarrative rested on its authenticity, ‘authenticity depended on strict adherence to a set of generic conventions
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-slavenarratives 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
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 slavenarrative; others because they have gained distinctive national inflections. All, however
augmenting the continuum of neo-slavenarratives. 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
example I turn to consider how the histories and
memories of Cape coloureds are being re-examined, particularly with
reference to slavenarratives, 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