Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself, Harriet Ann Jacobs

 
9781453876961: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl: Written by Herself, Harriet Ann Jacobs
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"God . . . gave me a soul that burned for freedom and a heart nerved with determination to suffer even unto death in pursuit of liberty." In this excerpt from a letter written by Harriet Jacobs to her friend, the abolitionist Amy Post, Jacobs expresses her determination to continue her quest for freedom. Dated October 9, 1853 - less than two years after Jacobs was freed - the letter was written in response to Post's suggestion that Jacobs tell the story of her abuse and exploitation as an enslaved black woman. Eight years later, in 1861 - the same year that marked the beginning of the Civil War - Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself was published in Boston. According to the chronology of Jacobs's life compiled by her autobiographer, Jean Fagan Yellin, the events described in Incidents narrated by "Linda Brent" mirror key incidents of Jacobs' life.

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From the Back Cover:

These two slave narratives expand our knowledge of the differing ways males and females coped with enslavement and later ordeals in flight. This popularly-priced anthology contains the often taught Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs and the recently discovered A True Tale of Slavery by John S. Jacobs, her younger brother, now reprinted for the first time.


After Harriet’s owner, a physician, repeatedly abused her, she escaped his sexual advances for a time by entering into a relationship with a local attorney. Her owner continued to harass her, and she sought refuge in a crawlspace where she lived in hiding. After her escape to the North, she published her narrative.


John S. Jacobs “walked away” as he put it, from his owner, a congressman. He sailed on a whaling ship and educated himself. He then became a paid agent of the Anti-Slavery Society, made a lecturing trip with Frederick Douglass, and finally settled in London, where he remained until it was safe for a fugitive to return to the North. He wrote his story for a London Sunday school journal where it was published in 1861.

From the Inside Flap:

This Modern Library Paperback Classics edition combines the two most important African American slave narratives into one volume.
Frederick Douglass's Narrative, first published in 1845, is an enlightening and incendiary text. Born into slavery, Douglass became the preeminent spokesman for his people during his life; his narrative is an unparalleled account of the dehumanizing effects of slavery and Douglass's own triumph over it. Like Douglass, Harriet Jacobs was born into slavery, and in 1861 she published Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, now recognized as the most comprehensive antebellum slave narrative written by a woman. Jacobs's account broke the silence on the exploitation of African American female slaves, and it remains crucial reading. These narratives illuminate and inform each other. This edition includes an incisive Introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah and extensive annotations.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

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Harriet Ann Jacobs
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