Memoirs and Letters of Dolly Madison, Wife of James Madison, President of the United States

ISBN-10: 0140437959

ISBN-13: 9780140437959

Edition: 2000

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Description:

Not only one of the last of over one hundred slave narratives published separately before the Civil War, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) is also one of the few existing narratives written by a woman. It offers a unique perspective on the complex plight of the black woman as slaveand as writer. In a story that merges the conventions of the slave narrative with the techniques of the sentimental novel, Harriet Jacobs describes her efforts to fight off the advances of her master, her eventual liaison with another white man (the father of two of her children), and herultimately successful struggle for freedom. Jacobs' account of her experiences, and her search for her own voice, prefigure the literary and ideological concerns of generations of African-American women writers to come.
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Book details

List price: $15.00
Copyright year: 2000
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 7/1/2000
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 320
Size: 5.25" wide x 7.75" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.704
Language: English

Nell Irvin Painter is professor of history at Princeton University.

Born into slavery in North Carolina, Jacobs's early life was one of abuse and hardship. At the age of 21, she was sent to work on a plantation as penalty for having rejected the sexual advances of her white owner, whereupon she determined to free herself and her children at whatever cost. In 1842 Jacobs escaped to the North and was placed in the home of the popular New York writer, N. P. Willis. Several years later she moved to Rochester, New York, where she became active in a group of antislavery feminists. It was at their urging that she first came to think of writing her autobiography, since slave narratives were found to be an effective means of turning northern sentiment against the cruelties of slavery. Jacobs worked on her book during the next several years, finally finishing it in 1858, but no publisher was willing to publish it. Only after Lydia Maria Child, a leading white abolitionist, agreed to write a preface to Jacobs's autobiography was the book able to find its way into print in 1861. Coming as it did, however, so close to the beginning of the Civil War, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (published under the pseudonym "Linda Brent") did not win the enormous popularity that other slave narratives had previously enjoyed, such as Frederick Douglass's Narrative (1845). Nor was its popularity increased by its frank depiction of the sexual exploitation of female slaves by their masters. However, white women reader were especially moved by the account of a woman who had fought so heroically to free herself and her children from slavery, even at the cost of her "virtue," and were able to identify with her through the perspective of their own situations as wives and mothers. During and after the Civil War, Jacobs traveled and spoke on behalf of the rights of African Americans, her effectiveness enhanced by the recognition that she had earned as an author.

Introduction
Suggestions for Further Reading
A Note on the Text
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl
Preface by the Author
Introduction by the Editor
Childhood
The New Master and Mistress
The Slaves' New Year's Day
The Slave Who Dared to Feel Like a Man
The Trials of Girlhood
The Jealous Mistress
The Lover
What Slaves Are Taught to Think of the North
Sketches of Neighboring Slaveholders
A Perilous Passage in the Slave Girl's Life
The New Tie to Life
Fear of Insurrection
The Church and Slavery
Another Link to Life
Continued Persecutions
Scenes at the Plantation
The Flight
Months of Peril
The Children Sold
New Perils
The Loophole of Retreat
Christmas Festivities
Still in Prison
The Candidate for Congress
Competition in Cunning
Important Era in My Brother's Life
New Destination for the Children
Aunt Nancy
Preparations for Escape
Northward Bound
Incidents in Philadelphia
The Meeting of Mother and Daughter
A Home Found
The Old Enemy Again
Prejudice Against Color
The Hairbreadth Escape
A Visit to England
Renewed Invitations to Go South
The Confession
The Fugitive Slave Law
Free at Last
A True Tale of Slavery
Some Account of My Early Life
A Further Account of My Family, and of My New Master
My Uncle's Troubles - My Further Experience of the Doctor, and Our Parting
My New Master's Plantation - My Medical Practice Among the Slaves - My Sister's Hiding-Place
My Master Goes to Washington as Member of Congress - He Is Engaged to Be Married - Wedding Trip to Chicago - Canada - New York - My Escape from Slavery
Sensations of Freedom - Self-Education - A Whaling Voyage - I Meet My Sister, and Hear from Her About My Friends at Edenton - The Fugitive Slave Bill
Cruel Treatment of Slaves - The Fugitive Slave Law - Slavery Opposed to Natural Rights and to Christianity
Explanatory Notes
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