The Slave Narrative as Material Text

Teresa A. Goddu

in The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative

Published in print April 2014 | ISBN: 9780199731480
Published online January 2014 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Slave Narrative as Material Text

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This article examines the antebellum African American slave narrative as a material artifact by discussing the genre’s diverse practices of authorship, publication, and circulation. It uses a print culture methodology to address the following issues: Who published the slave narrative? What did its original editions look like? How widely was it circulated? In what forms was it distributed? The perspectival shift from literary text to material object results in a richer understanding of the historical conditions under which the slave narrative was produced and provides new insights into the genre’s discursive meanings. By reframing the slave narrative as a material text, the article shows how the slave narrative’s discursive meanings are not only embedded in but also enlarged by the material practices of its publication and circulation.

Keywords: African American slave narrative; print culture studies; print practices; authorship; publication; circulation; material text

Article.  8372 words. 

Subjects: Literature

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