9780446530088

The Bondwoman's Narrative

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780446530088

  • ISBN10:

    0446530085

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-04-02
  • Publisher: Grand Central Pub

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Summary

An unprecedented historical and literary event, this tale written in the 1850s is the only known novel by a female African American slave, and quite possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere. A work recently uncovered by renowned scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., it is a stirring, page-turning story of "passing" and the adventures of a young slave as she makes her way to freedom. When Professor Gates saw that modest listing in an auction catalogue for African American artifacts, he immediately knew he could be on the verge of a major discovery. After exhaustively researching the hand-written manuscript's authenticity, he found that his instincts were right. He had purchased a genuine autobiographical novel by a female slave who called herself -- and her story's main character -- Hannah Crafts. Presented here unaltered and under its author's original title, The Bondwoman's Narrative tells of a self-educated young house slave who knows her life is limited by the brutalities of her society, but never suspects that the freedom of her plantation's beautiful new mistress is also at risk...or that a devastating secret will force them both to flee from slave hunters with another powerful, determined enemy at their heels. Together with Professor Gates's brilliant introduction -- which includes the story of his search for the real Hannah Crafts, the biographical facts that laid the groundwork for her novel, and a fascinating look at other slave narratives of the time -- The Bondwoman's Narrative offers a unique and unforgettable reading experience. In it, a voice that has never been heard rings out, and an undiscovered story at the heart of the American experience is finally told. Book jacket.

Author Biography

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., is the chair of Harvard's Afro-American Studies Department. Instrumental in changing the literary canon, he has edited many long-lost works and has written several major critical texts. His work has helped to broaden the definitions of both American and African American literature

Table of Contents

Introduction ix
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
The Bondwoman's Narrative
1(240)
Hannah Crafts
Textual Annotations 241(90)
Appendixes
A. Authentication Report
283(34)
Dr. Joe Nickell
B. Testimony of Jane Johnson
Version 1
317(2)
Version 2
319(2)
C. John Hill Wheeler's Library Catalogue, Compiled
321(10)
Bryan C. Sinche
Bibliography 331(4)
Acknowledgments 335

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