Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.663461
Title: Unfinished journeys : narratives of slavery from Olaudah Equiano to Toni Morrison
Author: Wangman, Pauline Turner
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1992
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Abstract:
Despite the obvious way in which slave narrative is 'married' to historical context as both public testimony and personal, imaginative expression of a specific experience, slave narrative presents the reader with unfinished journeys. The narratives which are the focus of this study are partial autobiographies, to the extent that Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs and Frederick Douglass each lived beyond the experiences about which they wrote. This is most obvious in the case of Douglass, who wrote three autobiographies. We are fortunate that Douglass wrote and re-wrote his life, and it is not unreasonable to wish, however fancifully, that Equiano and Jacobs had done the same. It is impossible to predict what their imaginary autobiographies would contain, beyond details of their lives in freedom which have come to us through historical sources, but it seems safe to assume that, like Douglass, Equiano and Jacobs would have opened doors that remained closed in the first narratives, in order to re-vision the past and shed light on the present. Indeed, the very act of imagining the slave narrator as creative agent beyond his or her journey to freedom, opens readers' minds to the possibilities of slave narrative. This is the imaginative journey performed by the fictional narratives of slavery, Dessa Rose and Beloved, into the world the slaves made, to probe and specify experiences in slavery and freedom. For the slave narrator, 'storying' his or her life was a beginning, not an end: their lives in freedom awaited them, and that long-awaited and cherished freedom was no more predictable or pre-determined than was the experience of slavery. 'Storying' slavery was a cathartic process through which the past was given meaning and order, and through which the storyteller could return to an image of the unrealised self in order to make it whole.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.663461  DOI: Not available
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