Fugitive Vision

Fugitive Vision

Slave Image and Black Identity in Antebellum Narrative
Michael A. Chaney
Distribution: World
Publication date: 03/18/2009
Format: Paperback 30 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-22108-7
Bookmark and Share

 Add to Wish List 


Analyzing the impact of black abolitionist iconography on early black literature and the formation of black identity, Fugitive Vision examines the writings of Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, William and Ellen Craft, and Harriet Jacobs, and the slave potter David Drake. Juxtaposing pictorial and literary representations, the book argues that the visual offered an alternative to literacy for current and former slaves, whose works mobilize forms of illustration that subvert dominant representations of slavery by both apologists and abolitionists. From a portrait of Douglass's mother as Ramses to the incised snatches of proverb and prophecy on Dave the Potter's ceramics, the book identifies a "fugitive vision" that reforms our notions of antebellum black identity, literature, and cultural production.

Author Bio

Michael A. Chaney is Assistant Professor of English at Dartmouth College.


“An eye-opening analysis of major sites, figures, and figurations of African American authorship.”
 — Ezra Greenspan, Southern Methodist University

Customer Reviews

There are currently no reviews
Write a review on this title.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: Looking Beyond and Through the Fugitive Icon
Part 1. Fugitive Gender: Black Mothers, White Faces, Sanguine Sons
1. Racing and Erasing the Slave Mother: Frederick Douglass, Parodic Looks, and Ethnographic Illustration
2. Looking for Slavery at the Crystal Palace: William Wells Brown and the Politics of Exhibition(ism)
3. The Uses in Seeing: Mobilizing the Portrait in Drag in Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom
Part 2. Still Moving: Revamped Technologies of Surveillance
4. Panoramic Bodies: From Banvard's Mississippi to Brown's Iron Collar
5. The Mulatta in the Camera: Harriet Jacobs's Historicist Gazing and Dion Boucicault's Mulatta Obscura
6. Throwing Identity in the Poetry-Pottery of Dave the Potter
Works Cited

Related Titles