LITR 4328 American Renaissance
lecture notes

 

 

11.8 civil disobedience

 

 

5.4 no shadow of law (cf. Fuller 19)

 

 

 

 

 

 

1a. Unlike a Poe story, slavery really happened as history, but slave narratives also became popular literature. Why? What’s inherently “Romantic” about the slave narrative? How does its structure or sequence resemble the romance narrative? (Sometimes Douglass is even classified as a Transcendentalist--Why?)

 

Douglass 10b

 

 

 

romance narrative

Jacobs

7.32 get to the north

41.9 domesticity—home of my own (+ question 4)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1a. Unlike a Poe story, slavery really happened as history, but slave narratives also became popular literature. Why? What’s inherently “Romantic” about the slave narrative? How does its structure or sequence resemble the romance narrative? (Sometimes Douglass is even classified as a Transcendentalist--Why?)

 

Romantic

6.7 city over town, anti romance (cf. Jacobs 6.22)

FD [10D.8] I felt as I never felt before. It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.

FD 1.11blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery

11.23-29 New Bedford (transcendence)

 

Cf.Emerson and Tintern Abbey

 

10D.7 turning point in career as slave

10D.8 glorious resurrection from tomb of slavery

 

 

gothic

P3 gothic pit

5.3 vile monster,

[14.1] I had not returned to my master's house since the birth of my child. The old man raved to have me thus removed from his immediate power;

cf. Jacobs 21.1 gothic > attic

21.5 verisimilitude x romanticism

 

 

Douglass

1.11blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery

 

 

 

 

domestic romance / sentiment

 

FD 5.9 white face, kindly emotions

1.3 part mothers from children, blunt and destroy natural affection

 

 

HJ 41.9 domesticity—home of my own

 

 

Romance narrative

Jacobs

7.32 get to the north

41.9 domesticity—home of my own

 

 

 

 

1b. What's not Romantic? At what points do historical realities contradict Romanticism or disrupt the romance narrative?

 

10H.13 stone prison to Baltimore (reality x romance)

 

 

11.13 leave escape unexplained

11.18 marriage ceremony

 

 

11.28 starting point of new existence, now my own master, such was the strength of prejudice

 

 

Jacobs

6.22 rejoice to live in town; contrast supposedly romantic plantation

 

 

14.12 chains metaphor

 

 

21.5 verisimilitude x romanticism

 

 

 

2. Both authors, esp. Douglass, stress significance of literacy—what is the role of language in enabling outsiders into a culture? (Another meeting of literary form and history?) Compare contrast with Sojourner Truth?

 

2.7, 2.11 double language

 

3.5 never utter a word

3.7 penalty of telling the truth

 

 

7.3 slavery and education incompatible

7.5 bread of knowledge

7.6-7 anti-slavery + Catholic emancipation

7.8 slavers as robbers, gone to Africa (contrast immigrant)

 

7.13 copy-book as board fence

 

9.2 Methodist camp meeting, 2nd Great Awakening

9.4 learn to read New Testament, broke up

 

11.7 camp meeting

 

 

Jacobs

1.13 While I was with her, she taught me to read and spell; and for this privilege, which so rarely falls to the lot of a slave, I bless her memory.

 

6.3] One day he caught me teaching myself to write. He frowned, as if he was not well pleased; but I suppose he came to the conclusion that such an accomplishment might help to advance his favorite scheme. Before long, notes were often slipped into my hand. I would return them, saying, "I can't read them, sir." "Can't you?" he replied; "then I must read them to you." He always finished the reading by asking, "Do you understand?"

 

 

 

 

3. How to discuss slavery, especially in a Confederate state like Texas? (standard defensive Anglo responses: "That was a long time ago." "We wouldn't have done that." "That's all fixed now." Analyze & criticize!)

 

https://www.vox.com/2015/6/29/8847385/what-i-learned-from-leading-tours-about-slavery-at-a-plantation

 

 

1.7 very different-looking class of people

6.1 by trade a weaver [class]

 

10G.7 Patrick Henry, liberty or death

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Back to history and Romantic form, how does Jacobs's narrative resemble a novel in its use of sentiment, domesticity, even the gothic?

 

 

5.5 beauty as greatest curse; admiration > degradation

5.9 [private influence of grandmother; cf. Fuller]

 

6.20 jealous mistress, no sisterhood

 

6.26 romantic notions of a sunny clime

6.27 children as property, marketable as pigs

6.29 deadens moral sense in white women

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. How do people of color challenge Western Civilization's color code? (cf. Stowe, "Sojourner Truth", 39)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chiasmus

4.2-4.5 chiasmus 6.6

metaphor

FD 5.9 white face, kindly emotions

FD 6.1 by trade a weaver [class]

FD 7.6-7 anti-slavery + Catholic emancipation

HJ 6.20 w/ jealous mistress

genre,romance narrative

11.8 civil disobedience

Color code

Fuller

27, 29 4, 7, 16 (limits), 25 (expansion), 27, 29


FD [10D.8] I felt as I never felt before. It was a glorious resurrection, from the tomb of slavery, to the heaven of freedom. My long-crushed spirit rose, cowardice departed, bold defiance took its place; and I now resolved that, however long I might remain a slave in form, the day had passed forever when I could be a slave in fact.

FD 1.11blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery

11.23-29 New Bedford

styles of language cross cultural lines

so can law

FD 4.8, 4.9

HJ 1.7 cf. MF 18

MF 28 one law for all souls

MF 19 Private action

HJ 5.4 no shadow of law

5.9 grandmother's influence

so do human genes

one language, same human race

HJ 1.2, 1.3, 1.6; 14.1

FD

1.2-3

10H.6

Problem of discussing slavery, especially in a Confederate state like Texas (i. e., 150 years ago, some of us would be slaveholders or slaves)

Avoid good guys / bad guys approach; Fuller shows one way how

But always a difficult problem, so solutions are sometimes hard to imagine, and "good guys-bad guys" makes for an easier story.

Problem with slave narratives, though: some of us would have been the bad guys!

Fuller and Stanton: anti-slavery forces pitch in for women

Jacobs: combines both stories: she's a slave, and a woman slave . . .

Sojourner Truth's status as African + woman

compare Jacobs as "double minority" or "double outsider"

i. e., both women and people of color excluded from power

Jacobs comments about special burdens of woman slave

But "double minority" can be "alliance"

That is, the same dynamic that oppresses women and blacks

may lead abolition and women's rights to work together

Phillips letter [2] cf. Fuller

1.3 father white man, whispered

1.3 part mothers from children, blunt and destroy natural affection

1.4 see me in the night

1.5 profitable as well as pleasurable

1.7 very different-looking class of people

1.11blood-stained gate, the entrance to the hell of slavery

2.4 night as slave’s time

2.7, 2.11 double language

3.1-2 garden excludes slaves

3.5 never utter a word

3.7 penalty of telling the truth

4.2-4.5 chiasmus

5.3 evolutionary / capitalist metaphor

5.9 white face, kindly emotions

6.1 by trade a weaver [class]

6.5 literacy, white man’s power to enslave black man

6.6 chiasmus

6.7 city over town, anti-romance

7.2 slavery as injurious to her

7.3 slavery and education incompatible

7.5 bread of knowledge

7.6-7 anti-slavery + Catholic emancipation

7.8 slavers as robbers, gone to Africa (contrast immigrant)

7.11 Irishmen

7.13 copy-book as board fence

8.2 all ranked together

8.9 brandy and slavery

8.11 knowledge to run away

9.2 Methodist camp meeting, 2nd Great Awakening

9.4 learn to read New Testament, broke up

9.7 Covey a professor of religion

10A.1 Covey as “the snake” + 2 power to deceive

10B.2 cf. Emerson

10C.1 chiasmus

10D. Sandy as root doctor

10D.7 turning point in career as slave

10D.8 glorious resurrection from tomb of slavery

10E slaves’ holidays

10E.3 vicious dissipation

10F.2 no pretensions to religion; religion of the south

10G.1 SabbathSchool: learn to read the will of God

10G.3 society of my fellow-slaves

10G.7 Patrick Henry, liberty or death

10H.5 cf. law enforcement

10H.6 yellow mulatto devil

10H.10 slave traders as pirates

10H.13 stone prison to Baltimore (reality x romance)

10i.3 class / race conflict

10i.7 Mrs. Auld

10J.3 money to master

11.3 underground railroad

11.5 continued to think

11.7 camp meeting

11.8 civil disobedience

11.13 leave escape unexplained

11.18 marriage ceremony

11.22 change my name

11.23 absence of slaves > wealth

11.28 starting point of new existence, now my own master, such was the strength of prejudice

A.2 slaveholding religion

Jacobs notes

P3 Uncle Tom’s Cabin 10 years earlier

P3 gothic pit

Child

4 Indecorum

1.2 mulattoes, merchandise

1.3 maternal grandmother, daughter of a planter, freed, returned

1.5 bake crackers at night

1.6 Anglo-Saxon ancestors

1.7 slave, being property, can hold no property (cf. women)

1.12 future . . . what they would do with me

1.13 taught me to read and spell

3.6 happy free women

3.7 children torn from her

5.2 subdue = seduce?

5.3 vile monster, sacred commandments of nature

5.4 no shadow of law

5.5 beauty as greatest curse; admiration > degradation

5.7 silence or death

5.9 [private influence of grandmother; cf. Fuller]

5.11 two beautiful children playing together

6.1 [family dynamics disrupted]

6.3 literacy as trap

Ch. 6 as jealous mistress, but little women’s bonding

6.20 I was touched by her grief; incapable of feeling, not very refined (class difference)

6.22 color of his soul! (color code)

6.22 rejoice to live in town; contrast supposedly romantic plantation

6.23 whispers

6.26 romantic notions of a sunny clime

6.27 children as property, marketable as pigs

6.29 deadens moral sense in white women

7.3 laws no sanction to marriage

7.16 romantic codes of honor

7.20-21 rights?

7.31 marriage no protection

7.32 get to the north

10.6 confuses all principles of morality

10.7 different standards

14.5 gothic (pit)

14.6 double minority

14.8 no claim to a name

14.11 genealogies of slavery (skeins metaphor)

14.12 chains metaphor

21.1 gothic? Attic

21.4 all must be done in darkness

21.5 verisimilitude x romanticism

41.9 domesticity—home of my own

 



Fuller and Stanton: anti-slavery forces pitch in for women

Jacobs: combines both stories: she's a slave, and a woman slave . . . 

Sojourner Truth's status as African + woman

compare Jacobs as "double minority" or "double outsider"

i. e., both women and people of color excluded from power

Jacobs comments about special burdens of woman slave

But "double minority" can be "alliance"

That is, the same dynamic that oppresses women and blacks

may lead abolition and women's rights to work together

 

 

Gates, Introduction to Classic Slave Narratives

1 created a genre

 inextricable link in Af Am tradition b/w literacy and freedom

60,000 slaves escaped?

over 100 wrote book-length narratives

b/w 1703 & 1944 (G W Carver), 6006 narrated

2 interviews, essays, books

indict both those who enslaved them and the metaphysical system

most enduring weapon at their disposal, the printing press

slave narratives came to resemble each other in content and formal shape [genre]

imitation and repetition

communal utterance, a collective tale (cultural narrative)

knew that al black slaves would be judged on this published evidence

emblem of every black person's potential for higher education and desire to be free

3 response to and refutation of claims that blacks could not write

how lost to us for such a dark period?

extraordinarily popular texts (cf. women's writing in 70s and on)

Solomon Northup's narrative

4 often direct extensions of their speeches

"startling incidents authenticated, far excelling fiction"

5 direct relation b/w reading and writing on one hand, and legal freedom on the other (cf. American Indians)

foundation upon which most subsequent Af Am fictional and nonfictional narrative forms are based

essentially polemical intentions

6 Douglass's elegant simplicity, compelling lucidity, literary complexity

opens itself to all classes of readers, adventure story, fine emotional detail

command of rhetorical figures

8 Equiano: overlapping of slave's arduous journey to freedom and simultaneous journey from orality to literacy

believable account of cultural life among the Igbo peoples

from African freedom, through European enslavement, to Anglican freedom

two distinct voices

9 Mary Prince, first woman slave narrative

sexual brutalization of the black woman slave

enforced severance of a mother's natural relation to her children and the lover of her choice

the daily price ofher bondage

sadism as commonly practiced by white women

10 slavery brutalized men and women, mistress and master, the enslaved and the free

differences b/w popular white myths or impressions about the feelings of lsaves and the actual feelings of the slaves themselves

11 Jacobs, "written by herself"

12 1981 Jean Fagan Yellin

fusion of two major literary forms: popular sentimental novel, slave narrative genre

graphically renders sexual aspect of economic exploitation in a manner unimaginable before

an object to be raped, bred, or abused

13 framing story w/ descriptions of strength, dignity, nobility of her family, esp. grandmother

literary female bonding in black tradition

"Rise up, ye women . . . "