7. Indian Captivity Narratives and the Origins of American Frontier Gothic

  1. Charles L. Crow
  1. Matthew Wynn Sivils

Published Online: 13 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch7

A Companion to American Gothic

A Companion to American Gothic

How to Cite

Wynn Sivils, M. (2013) Indian Captivity Narratives and the Origins of American Frontier Gothic, in A Companion to American Gothic (ed C. L. Crow), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118608395.ch7

Publication History

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

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9780470671870

Online ISBN: 9781118608395

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Keywords:

  • Early American Gothic;
  • Panther Captivity Narrative;
  • Juan Ortiz;
  • Mary Jemison;
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne;
  • Indian captivity narratives;
  • Racial Oppression;
  • Demonization of Native Americans;
  • Origins of American Gothic;
  • Colonial America

Summary

Combining adventure tales with religious, propagandistic, and didactic sentiments, Indian captivity narratives were among the most popular literary works of early America. With scenes of intense violence, of women in peril, of the grotesque, and, in some cases, of unexplained phenomena, Indian captivity narratives contributed significantly to the origins of American Gothic literature. This article investigates how key Indian captivity narratives, such as those of Juan Ortiz, Mary Rowlandson, Hannah Dustan, and Mary Jemison—along with the pivotal “Panther Captivity” narrative—reveal American Gothic tropes that were, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, increasingly incorporated into the fiction of Charles Brocken Brown, Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper, Catharine Maria Sedgwick, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and other early American writers who strove to create a distinctively American literary culture.