A Spy in the Enemy's Country: The Emergence of Modern Black by Donald A. Petesch

By Donald A. Petesch

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15 The published narratives of their experiences, which often crystallized their speeches from the public platforms, were widely read: A large number of the separately printed narratives were issued in pamphlet form, cheaply printed, bound with paper covers and sold for about twenty-five cents. The more lengthy and better bound ones could be had for a dollar or a dollar and a half. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789) went into at least ten editions by 1837; a Dutch and a German edition are extant.

Slave narratives, for example, stressed, for reasons both of verisimilitude and propaganda, the degradation and victimization so much a part of the peculiar institution. " A Frederick Douglass could write, as a fugitive slave, that he had never known a slave who did not bear stripes upon his body, but where was the literary form, apart from the slave narrative, that could contain such an experience, that could domesticate such a troubling, and accusatory, content? The black writer, like Cleopatra's messenger, possessed bad news.

Introduction 3 2. Some Motes in the Nineteenth-Century Eye: On Literary Taste, the Perception of Difference, and White Images of Blacks 10 3. Differences in Perception: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Walden, and Invisible Man 21 4. The "Probable and Ordinary Course of Man's Experience": Antiromance Tendencies in the Black Literary Tradition 34 5. The Experience of Power and Powerlessness and Its Expression in the Literature 44 6. "The Day Had Passed Forever When I Could Be a Slave in Fact": The Gathering of a Self 51 7.

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