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Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation (review)

Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation (review) Reviews 669 Sterling Lecater Bland, Jr. Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation. Westport: Praeger, 2000. 184 pp. ISBN 0-275-96707-7, $22.95. This nicely written study of a number of antebellum slave narratives seeks to illuminate the multiple identities created within such narratives. Composed for a literary theory audience but very accessible to other readers and stu- dents, the book reaffirms a number of older interpretations while mixing in the author’s own ideas. Bland divides his argument into three main sections, encompassing the literary and cultural landscape, the slaves’ response, and an epilogue. The first section includes an illuminating discussion of “masking” in slave narra- tives, by which bond people produced a series of identities separate from the ken of their masters. Using original insights overlaying older ideas, Bland relates “masking” to W. E. B. Du Bois’s double-consciousness and Bahktin’s theory of “double-voiced discourse.” Such doubling, the author announces, served as “an imaginative and creative (as well as an honest and accurate) response to the contradictions inherent in a supposedly Christian nation that tolerated the slave system” (13). Within this statement the author reveals much of his argument: masking is a creative means to allay http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Biography University of Hawai'I Press

Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation (review)

Biography , Volume 24 (3) – Jun 1, 2001

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Publisher
University of Hawai'I Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2001 Biographical Research Center.
ISSN
0162-4962
eISSN
1529-1456

Abstract

Reviews 669 Sterling Lecater Bland, Jr. Voices of the Fugitives: Runaway Slave Stories and Their Fictions of Self-Creation. Westport: Praeger, 2000. 184 pp. ISBN 0-275-96707-7, $22.95. This nicely written study of a number of antebellum slave narratives seeks to illuminate the multiple identities created within such narratives. Composed for a literary theory audience but very accessible to other readers and stu- dents, the book reaffirms a number of older interpretations while mixing in the author’s own ideas. Bland divides his argument into three main sections, encompassing the literary and cultural landscape, the slaves’ response, and an epilogue. The first section includes an illuminating discussion of “masking” in slave narra- tives, by which bond people produced a series of identities separate from the ken of their masters. Using original insights overlaying older ideas, Bland relates “masking” to W. E. B. Du Bois’s double-consciousness and Bahktin’s theory of “double-voiced discourse.” Such doubling, the author announces, served as “an imaginative and creative (as well as an honest and accurate) response to the contradictions inherent in a supposedly Christian nation that tolerated the slave system” (13). Within this statement the author reveals much of his argument: masking is a creative means to allay

Journal

BiographyUniversity of Hawai'I Press

Published: Jun 1, 2001

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