Literature of the Antebellum South Criticism: Slavery And The Slave Narrative - Essay

Harold Woodell (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Woodell, Harold. “Justice Denied in the Old South: Three Novels by F. Colburn Adams.” Southern Literary Journal 11, no. 1 (fall 1978): 54-63.

[In the following essay, Woodell describes three unusual novels by the little-known Charleston writer F. Colburn Adams that attack Southern hypocrisy and the institution of slavery.]

Francis Colburn Adams, a stage manager-novelist who lived in Charleston, South Carolina, in the decade preceding the Civil War, offers us an unusual perspective on the Old South with three works of fiction, Manuel Pereira (1853), Our World (1855), and Justice in the By-Ways (1856). This author's unflinching dissection...

(The entire section is 3484 words.)

Raymond Hedin (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Hedin, Raymond. “The American Slave Narrative: The Justification of the Picaro.” American Literature 53, no. 4 (January 1982): 630-45.

[In the following essay, Hedin concentrates on the new literary strategies of nineteenth-century slave narratives which grafted morality, political awareness, and irony to the simpler, eighteenth-century picaresque narrative tradition.]

If “well begun is half-done,” a bad start can also mean a bad finish. Beginnings establish a momentum that later stages tend to continue or at least need to confront. Hence the appropriate fascination of scholars with origins—of culture, political movements, personality development. Our...

(The entire section is 6052 words.)

Thomas Doherty (essay date 1986)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Doherty, Thomas. “Harriet Jacob's Narrative Strategies: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.The Southern Literary Journal 19, no. 1 (fall 1986): 79-91.

[In the following essay, Doherty comments on Harriet Jacobs's skilled application of the narrative conventions of the popular sentimental novel to her Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl.]

In 1853, the fugitive slave Harriet Jacobs confided her literary ambitions to the poet and abolitionist Amy Post. “Don't expect too much of me, dear Amy,” she cautioned, “You shall have truth but not talent” (Sterling 79). Jacobs' modest opinion of the work that became Incidents in the Life of a...

(The entire section is 5261 words.)

Richard Yarborough (essay date 1997)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Yarborough, Richard. “Race, Violence, and Manhood: The Masculine Ideal in Frederick Douglass's ‘The Heroic Slave.’” In Haunted Bodies: Gender and Southern Texts, edited by Anne Goodwyn Jones and Susan V. Donaldson, pp. 159-84. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.

[In the following essay, Yarborough contends that Frederick Douglass's reinterpretation and exaltation of a slave rebellion in his novella The Heroic Slave is subverted by the underlying prejudices of the white, masculine worldview.]

Sir, I want to alarm the slaveholders, and not to alarm them by mere declamation or by mere bold assertions, but to...

(The entire section is 9735 words.)