African American Autobiography and the Quest for Freedom

الغلاف الأمامي
Greenwood Publishing Group, 2000 - 155 من الصفحات


Slave narratives were one of the earliest forms of African American writing. These works, autobiographical in nature, later fostered other pieces of African American autobiography. Since the rise of Black Studies in the late 1960s, leading critics have constructed black lives and letters as antitheses of the ways and writings of mainstream American culture. According to such thinking, black writing stems from a set of experiences very different from the world of whites, and black autobiography must therefore differ radically from heroic white American tales. But in pointing to differences between black and white autobiographical works, these critics have overlooked the similarities. This volume argues that the African American autobiography is a continuation of the epic tradition, much as the prose narratives of voyage by white Americans in the nineteenth century likewise represent the evolution of the epic genre. The book makes clear that the writers of black autobiography have shared and shaped American culture, and that their works are very much a part of American literature.

An introductory essay provides a theoretical framework for the chapters that follow. It discusses the origins of African American autobiography and the larger themes of the epic tradition that are common to the works of both black and white authors. The book then pairs representative African American autobiographies with similar works by white writers. Thus the volume matches Olaudah Equiano's slave narrative with The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave with Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast, and Harriet Jacobs' Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl with Fanny Fern's Ruth Hall. The study indicates that these various works all recognize the importance of learning as a means for attaining freedom. The final chapter provides a broad survey of the African American autobiography.

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المحتوى

Blackwall Hitch
9
Crows Nest
41
Jacobs Ladder
79
Territorial Waters
115
Postscript
141
حقوق النشر

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عبارات ومصطلحات مألوفة

مقاطع مشهورة

الصفحة 33 - No body wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the other colors of men, and that the appearance of a want of them is owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in Africa and America.
الصفحة 62 - Or I guess it is a uniform hieroglyphic, And it means, Sprouting alike in broad zones and narrow zones, Growing among black folks as among white, Kanuck, Tuckahoe, Congressman, Cuff, I give them the same, I receive them the same.
الصفحة 57 - The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.
الصفحة 62 - They have all a lively faith in the perfectibility of man, they judge that the diffusion of knowledge must necessarily be advantageous, and the consequences of ignorance fatal; they all consider society as a body in a state of improvement, humanity as a changing scene, in which nothing is, or ought to be, permanent; and they admit that what appears to them today to be good, may be superseded by something better tomorrow.
الصفحة 57 - He has endeavored, in every way that he could, to destroy her confidence in her own powers, ,to lessen her self-respect and to make her willing to lead a dependent and abject life.
الصفحة 51 - I'll make you toe the mark, every soul of you, or I'll flog you all, fore and aft, from the boy, up ! " — "You've got a driver over you!
الصفحة 44 - Every continent has its own great spirit of place. Every people is polarized in some particular locality, which is home, the homeland. Different places on the face of the earth have different vital effluence, different vibration, different chemical exhalation, different polarity with different stars : call it what you like. But the spirit of place is a great reality.
الصفحة 55 - I was somewhat unmanageable at the first, but a few months of this discipline tamed me. Mr. Covey succeeded in breaking me — in body, soul, and spirit.
الصفحة 23 - To understand political power right and derive it from its original, we must consider what state all men are naturally in, and that is a state of perfect freedom to order their actions and dispose of their possessions and persons as they think fit, within the bounds of the law of nature, without asking leave or depending upon the will of any other man.

نبذة عن المؤلف (2000)

ROLAND L. WILLIAMS, JR. is Assistant Professor of English at Temple University and has published poetry, fiction, and book reviews./e He has previously taught at Ohio State University, Otterbein College, and the University of Delaware.

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