6. The African American Slave Narrative and the Gothic

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Teresa A. Goddu

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch6

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Goddu, T. A. (2013) The African American Slave Narrative and the Gothic, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch6

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 13 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 25 NOV 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

SEARCH

Keywords:

  • slavery;
  • the slave Narrative;
  • James Williams;
  • American gothic;
  • antebellum U.S.;
  • African American gothic;
  • race and the gothic

Summary

Slavery is a central historical context that produces the gothic and against which it responds. Through the gothic, slavery was turned into a terrifying tale, its everyday realties rewritten as gothic romance. In telling their life stories, former slaves had to negotiate the blurring of their horrifying history with gothic fiction as well as the gothic's discourse of racial demonization. The Narrative of James Williams, the first slave Narrative published by The American Anti-Slavery Society, reveals the complex role that the gothic plays in the origin story of the African American slave Narrative and shows how difficult it was for the slave narrator to “write himself into being” through the gothic.