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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself (Annotated)

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself (Annotated) [Kindle Edition]

Harriet Ann Jacobs
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

- Included with Slave History in America.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a slave narrative that was published in 1861 by Harriet Ann Jacobs, using the pen name "Linda Brent." The book is an in-depth chronological account of Jacobs's life as a slave, and the decisions and choices she made to gain freedom for herself and her children. It addresses the struggles and sexual abuse that young women slaves faced on the plantations, and how these struggles were harsher than what men suffered as slaves. The book is considered sentimental and written to provoke an emotional response and sympathy from the reader toward slavery in general and slave women in particular[citation needed] for their struggles with rape, the pressure to have sex at an early age, the selling of their children, and the treatment of female slaves by their mistresses.

Jacobs began composing Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl while living and working at Idlewild, the Hudson River home of writer and publisher Nathaniel Parker Willis, who was fictionalized in the book as Mr. Bruce. Portions of the book were published in serial form in the New-York Tribune, owned and edited by Horace Greeley. Jacobs's reports of sexual abuse were considered too shocking to the average newspaper reader of the day, and publication ceased before the completion of the narrative.

Boston publishing house Phillips and Samson agreed to print the work in book form if Jacobs could convince Willis or Harriet Beecher Stowe to provide a preface. She refused to ask Willis for help and Stowe turned her down, though the Phillips and Samson company closed anyway. She eventually managed to sign an agreement with the Thayer & Eldridge publishing house and they requested a preface by Lydia Maria Child. Child also edited the book and the company introduced her to Jacobs. The two women remained in contact for much of their remaining lives. Thayer & Eldridge, however, declared bankruptcy before the narrative could be published.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 660 KB
  • Print Length: 226 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #206,661 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read 27 July 2014
By BrynG
If you were like me and thought you had an idea what the life of a slave must have been like, then think again and read this!
I understood that slaves were bought and sold by rich whites to work on their estates in order to maximise profit. In my ignorance I did not appreciate, until reading this book, the extent to which a slave was actually completely and utterly owned. That ownership was absolute and extended to the offspring of women slaves also, so there was a never ending supply of slaves into the future. It was shocking to find out that a slave owner left their slaves to their offspring in their will in EXACTLY the same way as we leave objects of worth such as a home to ours. This meant that a slave who had worked for decades for a mistress could, on the death of that mistress, find herself the slave of the deceased's daughter (who may be very young indeed, e.g. 3yrs old in one example in this book).
The book also tells of the torture and abuse that was systematically handed out to slaves with importunity by the 'civilised' whites.
For the most part the events of Harriet's life are told in a somewhat cool tone; you are told what happens, but she doesn't then pour over the emotional distress she feels, but leaves it for the reader to imagine. On occasions she comes across as extremely forgiving, understanding and genuinely sorry for some of the kinder slave owners who she felt were also being brutalised (emotionally at least) by this evil system.
This is, as everyone knows, an incredibly important book, and whilst the style may seem old fashioned to some, I found it an easy but always troubling read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 12 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
great read
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars My husband recommended I read this after reading it and being very ... 3 Aug 2014
By Amazon-a-holic - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
My husband recommended I read this after reading it and being very touched by the truth of the situation of slaves and slavery. I did and felt the same way. I was shocked and it was eye-opening to see the insight from her point of view. It was hard on my naturally empathetic heart to bear some of the hardships slaves had to have endured. Some of it, I already knew, but this story brought to my attention things I'd never considered before. I recommend it and may we all learn from history so the mistakes are never repeated.
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent reading, could not put it down. 30 Mar 2014
By Shirley c. - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was drawn to the book from the first couple pages. Very enjoyable, yet heart breaking. I recommend this book to everyone.
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