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The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers) [Paperback]

Harriet Ann Jacobs , Valerie Smith
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
Price: 13.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 1990 The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers
One of hundreds of slave narratives published just before the Civil War, this account is unique in that it is written by a woman. This offers a different, perhaps more realistic, perspective on slave experience than that presented in the more typical `heroic' male narrative. The work is notable for its blending and manipulation of several narrative techniques, including those of the sentimental novel, of autobiography, and of the classical slave narrative.

Frequently Bought Together

The Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers) + Uncle Tom's Cabin (Wordsworth Classics) + Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (Oxford World's Classics)
Price For All Three: 20.13

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Product details

  • Paperback: 346 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; New Ed edition (1 Nov 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195066707
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195066708
  • Product Dimensions: 2.1 x 13.9 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,824,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"A viable alternative to male save narratives. The specific problems faced by female slaves are clearly portrayed."--Ray Doyle, West Chester Univ."My personal favorite...Jacobs confronts the contradictions inherent in the category 'the black woman writer.' By engaging these issues and negotiating a course through them, she anticipates the literary and ideological position of subsequent generations of black women writers."--Jean Fagan Yellin, The Washington Post Book World"A corrective to those who have identified the slave narrative primarily as a male genre....This particular edition, with its introduction by Valerie Smith, sheds new light on the choices its heroine Linda Brent makes."--The Women's Review of Books

From the Back Cover

39 New and Revised Titles. The Best Just Got Better! Plus Glossary from Webster's new world ™ Dictionary Anthem Atlas Shrugged Beowulf Brave New World The Canterbury Tales The Catcher in the Rye The Contender The Crucible The Fountainhead Frankenstein The Grapes of Wrath Great Expectations The Great Gatsby Hamlet Heart of Darkness & The Secret Sharer Huckleberry Finn The Iliad Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Inherit the Wind Jane Eyre Julius Caesar The Killer Angels King Lear The Lord of the Flies Macbeth 1984 The Odyssey The Oedipus Trilogy The Once and Future King Othello The Outsiders Pride and Prejudice The Red Badge of Courage Romeo and Juliet The Scarlet Letter A Separate Peace A Tale of Two Cities To Kill a Mockingbird Wuthering Heights See inside for the complete line–up of available CliffsNotes! Check Out the All–New CliffsNotes Guides To AOL ® , iMacs ™ , eBay ® , Windows ® 98, Investing, Creating Web Pages, and more! More Than Notes! CliffsComplete ™ CliffsTestPrep ™ CliffsQuickReview ™ CliffsAP ™ Over 300 CliffsNotes Available @ Downloadable 24 hours a day Free daily e–mail newsletters Free tips, tricks, and trivia Free online CliffsNotes catalog Free self–assessment tools Freeware and shareware downloads --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
I WAS born a slave; but I never knew it till six years of happy childhood had passed away. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
299 of 305 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As told by herself 4 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Although Linda has been treated fairly well, she is still a slave and as such suffers from the degradations and deprivations that all slaves suffered in the southern states of America during the eighteen hundreds. Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl tells of Linda's struggles and triumphs over her `condition' in her own words, spanning several decades....

Although I love to read this isn't a book that I would have really bought for myself, I much prefer science fiction or horror to biographies. But as the Kindle edition was free to download and I have the Kindle for Android app on my phone I decided to give it a go and found it was quite a revelation. Although the book is in no way graphic, we are left in doubt as to how difficult and humiliating life is for a young woman growing up as the property of another man. As the book progressed, I really found myself sympathising with Linda and rooting for her in her quest for freedom for both herself and her children.

In the main part the language used is easy to read and the conversational style almost makes it feel as if we're sitting next to Linda as she tells us her story. There are a few points in the book where she uses patois, which I found a little harder to follow, and there are also points where the 'N' word is used. Thinking long and hard about it, the fact that this book is a slave girl telling us this story, means that this language is exactly how she would have spoken, and to remove those words because we now find them offensive would have been in fact offensive to her memory. Throughout the whole book you really do get to understand Linda's motivations and empathise with her, as she recounts both her own and the stories of those around her with just the right level detail.
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202 of 207 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
Beautifully written, sometimes a harrowing read this book deals at first hand of the traumars that slaves - especially female slaves endured. Most people will be aware of the physical horrors that slaves endured; and these are not glossed over; but this book majors on the emotional cruelty that female slaves had to live with. 'How could they?' is the natural reaction to indignity and cruelty meeted out by the slave owners and traders. Be prepared for a heart jerker of a true story, but above all, read it
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and realistic 28 May 1999
By A Customer
I've read this book a few times over the years. The first being for a college course. It stayed with me then as it did each and every time I've read it. I highly recommend this novel as it is so frighteningly realistic and poignant. I have found myself many times recommending this novel to friends and family. It is rich in culture, history and plot. I highly recommend it.
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85 of 87 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars slave girl 8 Jan 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Even though this is a very tragic story you can't change history.It's good to keep alive the past so this never happens again.Did enjoy this book(in a sad way).If you are of a sensative nature this may be upsetting that people could treat a fellow human this way.I was amazed that the writer had to go through such hardship in her life before finding peace and semi freedom.Written at a time when slavery was still rife but no mention of dates when all this occured.
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48 of 49 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars incredible and moving 9 Jan 2011
By A Customer
Format:Kindle Edition
one of the most heartbreaking and emotive recollections of slave history that i have ever read. what a brave and eloquent writer with a true and beautiful heart. thank you
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94 of 97 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lesson From the Heart 20 Sep 1998
By A Customer
It took me a few days to track down this book, but thankfully, Amazom.Com had it, and was able to send it to me within a few days. I picked it up, expecting to be a long, dry read as most of the fiction (not just slave narratives, mind you) has a tendency to take on such characteristics. Just the style of the period, I suppose.
Boy, was I surprised. Harriet Jacobs, writing under a pseudonym, published this book in 1861 after spending many, many years in hiding from her "master," Dr. Charles Flint, a lecherous, sexually-aggressive man determined to break her spirit. Seven years in a cramped, ten-by-seven foot attic crawlspace, however, did little to crush this woman, for she not only managed to escape North Carolina herself, but her children and uncle escaped as well. Her grandmother, freed when she was fifty years old upon the death of her mistress, died during Jacobs' exile in Boston.
What I most enjoyed about this text was its style and frankness with the material. Written as a part slave narrative, part journal, and part epistle to the reader, Incidents tells a remarkable tale of the callousness of white men to slaves, who were deemed subhuman and ignorant. Harriet Jacobs demonstrates an enormous capacity for intelligence through her careful, brutally honest memoirs. Although the names of friends, family, and enemies were changed, perhaps to protect the innocent, perhaps to protect the guilty, there is no doubt in my mind that the horrors Jacobs describes occurred, and while my family arrived in America at the early part of this century, I still experienced a great embarassment and shame. Not because I had anything to do with those horrid crimes. No... I feel shame because I know it still continues today, and it saddens my heart to know it will probably continue tomorrow.
Rest in peace, Harriet Jacobs.
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