Oxherding Tale

Johnson, Charles

Published by Indiana University Press, 1982
ISBN 10: 0253166071 / ISBN 13: 9780253166074
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Bloomington. 1982. Indiana University Press. 1st American Edition. Very Good In Dustjacket. 90. 176 pages. hardcover. Jacket drawing by Sharon Sklar. 0253166071. keywords:. inventory # 34448. FROM THE PUBLISHER - Andrew Hawkins’ birth is the result of a huge misunderstanding. His story begins on an evening in 1837. Jonathan Polkinghorne, master of the Cripplegate plantation, and his dutiful butler, George Hawkins, drink a bit too much and decide they can’t go home to their own wives—so they go home to each others’. Disaster ensues. Their wives never quite recover, George is banished to the fields, and nine months later Anna Polkinghorne gives birth to the fated narrator of OXHERDING TALE. As a youth, Andrew is caught in the perpetual battle of the sexes; as he matures, he becomes a social chameleon, who tastes life fully in both the white and the black worlds, never truly belonging to either. Charles Johnson’s comic philosophical novel takes the form of a picaresque, first-person narrative. It is the story of Andrew’s desperate flight from slavery, but in OXHERDING TALE bondage is spiritual as well as physical, sexual as well as racial. Andrew’s adventures cover not only the landscape of the antebellum South—the horrors of the ‘peculiar institution,’ black suicide, and death in the mines—but also timeless questions of identity and the nature of the self. The novel’s title refers to the ‘Ten Oxherding Pictures’ of the twelfth-century Zen artist Kuo-an Shih-yuan, which depict the progress of a young herdsman searching for his wayward ox (Self). Accordingly, the narrative skillfully interfaces Eastern (and Western) philosophical traditions with the drama of black American slavery. On his way to a liberation that should surprise the reader, Andrew encounters a vivid cast of characters. There is Flo Hat-field, an aging sensualist and ‘genius of love,’ who satisfies her gargantuan appetites on a diet of sweets and young male slaves; Reb, the Coffinmaker, a direct pipeline to African mysteries, who reluctantly flees north with Andrew; and Horace Bannon, the ominous Soulcatcher, a bounty-hunter who does not so much catch runaways as absorb them into himself, taking on their individual quirks and idiosyncrasies. A young Karl Marx also appears, paying a funny, yet zanily plausible visit to America to meet Ezekiel Sykes-Withers, Andrew’s tragic and ascetic tutor. There is Minty, a slave girl of remarkable strength, as well as the misanthropic Dr. Undercliff and his sharp-tongued daughter, Peggy, with whom Andrew achieves a rare and unexpected serenity. Brilliantly realized minor characters complete the portrait of a world that, as the narrator says, ‘is ruin now, mere parable.’ Like John Fowles in The French Lieutenant’s Woman, John Barth in The Sotweed Factor, and E. L. Doctorow in Ragtime, Charles Johnson has created a narrative voice that bridges present-day and past sensibilities. The form of OXHERDING TALE—at once a celebration and an exploration of a traditional genre—underscores its meaning: a fiction that fully treats slavery and liberation on every level of experience. CHARLES JOHNSON’S first novel, FAITH AND THE GOOD THING, was called by the Washington Post a book ‘of rare eloquence and originality, a fable that entertains and informs.’ Mr. Johnson is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington, fiction editor of the Seattle Review, author of the PBS Visions drama ‘Charlie Smith and the Fritter Tree,’ and recently a producer-writer for the PBS series Up and Coming. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Joan, and their two children, Malik and Elizabeth. . Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: Son of a slave and a white woman, Andrew Hawkins tries to find freedom as well as a true understanding of his spiritual identity

From the Back Cover: One night in the antebellum South, a slaveowner and his African-American butler stay up to all hours drinking Madeira and playing cards. Finally, too besotted to face their respective wives, they drunkenly decide to switch places in each other's beds. The result is a hilarious imbroglio and an offspring, Andrew Hawkins, whose life becomes the Oxherding Tale, a deliciously funny, bitterly ironic account of slavery, racism, oppression - and the African-American spirit - in the Old South. Through sexual escapades, picaresque adventures, and philosophical inquiry, young Hawkins walks the line between white and black worlds and comments wryly on marriage, human nature, slave catchers, and culture along the way.

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Oxherding Tale
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Publication Date: 1982
Binding: hardcover
Book Condition: Very Good In Dustjacket
Edition: 1st Edition.

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Book Description Indiana University Press. Hardcover. Book Condition: Good. Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Only lightly used. Book has minimal wear to cover and binding. A few pages may have small creases and minimal underlining. Bookseller Inventory # G0253166071I3N10

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Book Description Indiana Univ Pr, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. (NB104 JAN2T6N) creasing to dust jacket edges, browning to endpapers, light edge/point wear, light scuffing, no underlining or highlighting within. Bookseller Inventory # 0253166071

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Book Description London,Blond & Briggs,1983, 1983. Hardcover. Dust Jacket Included. F.... U.K.1st.edition. Fine in fine dw. The Pulitzer winning authors second novel and difficult to find. This copy is lovely and bright and clean. 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0. Bookseller Inventory # 2127

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Book Description Indiana Univ Pr, 1982. Book Condition: Good. A+ Customer service! Satisfaction Guaranteed! Book is in Used-Good condition. Pages and cover are clean and intact. Used items may not include supplementary materials such as CDs or access codes. May show signs of minor shelf wear and contain limited notes and highlighting. Bookseller Inventory # 0253166071-2-4

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Book Description Indiana Univ Pr, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: Used: Good. Bookseller Inventory # SONG0253166071

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Johnson, Charles
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Book Description Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1983. Hardcover. Book Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good+. Second Printing. INSCRIBED by author on full title page, "For Rolland L. Comstock, With my best wishes and thanks especially for the Edmund Wilson postcard. Charles Johnson 7/9/93." "Charles Johnson's comic philosophical novel takes the form of a picaresque, first-person narrative. It is the story of Andrew's desperate flight from slavery, but in Oxherding Tale bonding is spiritual as well as physical, sexual as well as racial." Ships same or next business day. Spine is slightly skewed, small bumps on bottom corners and spine ends; overall, pages are tight, bright, and clean. Dust jacket protected in archival cover. DJ has minor edge and shelf wear, faded on spine. ; Large 8vo 9" - 10" tall; 176 pages; Signed by Author. Bookseller Inventory # 68204

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JOHNSON, CHARLES
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Book Description BLOOMINGTON, IN INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS PUB 1982., 1982. F/VG+. SECOND PRINTING / SIGNED BY AUTHOR ON THE TITLE PAGE D.J. IS SUNNED AT THE FORE-EDGE FOLDS AND THE TOP TIP OF THE FRONT PANEL WITH THE SPINE PANEL SLIGHTLY SUNNED, A FAINT DAMP-STAIN AT THE TOP OF THE REAR PANEL, AND PRICE-CLIPPED. A NICE COPY. Binding is HARDCOVER. Bookseller Inventory # 002225

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Book Description Indiana Univ Pr 1982-08, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: good. First Edition. 0253166071. Bookseller Inventory # 592057

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Book Description Indiana Univ Pr, 1982. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Good. First Edition. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982. Very Good hardcover in Very Good dustjacket. Offsetting to pastedowns under DJ flaps, plus mottling to top and outer edge of textblock. Small chip to spine-faded jacket, in protective mylar cover. NOT an ex-library copy. No ink marks or highlighting to book. Scarce. Store ID#: L-JO1982H-A. Book. Bookseller Inventory # L-JO1982H-A

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Book Description Indiana University Press, 1982. Hard Cover. First Edition. 1st printing. F+/F+. Bookseller Inventory # 28676

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