Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change

Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790-1865

Title Details

Pages: 186

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 07/01/2010

ISBN: 9-780-8203-3699-2

List Price: $26.95

Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change

Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790-1865

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Analyzing the historical contexts in which female Gothic novels and slave narratives were composed, Kari J. Winter shows that both types of writing expose the sexual politics at the heart of patriarchal culture and represent terrifying aspects of life for women. Careful not to equate the status of slave and female, Winter reads both genres as sites of ideological struggle to examine how they engaged the dominant classist, racist, patriarchal discourse and created possibilities for new, feminist ways of thinking. Authors whose works are considered include Harriet Jacobs, Mary Prince, Nancy Prince, Louisa Picquet, Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, and Charlotte Brontë.

In juxtaposing slave narratives and gothic novels, Winter does not erase difference; instead she provocatively details ‘the social ordering of power’ in ways that illuminate the boundaries of genre, race, and nation.

Journal of American History

Carefully researched and well-documented, this fine study attempts to balance current political and theoretical sensibilities about feminism and race with the contemporary dilemmas of writers who confronted the oppression of women and the abuses of slavery.

American Literature

Winter’s consideration of the conjunctions between British female gothic novels and American slave narratives offers a more dynamic model for understanding the cross-fertilizations between the gothic and slavery . . . By exploring instead of collapsing the boundaries between different locations and traditions of the gothic and by seeing the gothic as a constantly moving form with no fixed abode, we begin to trace its web of monstrous relations. As we move into new critical paradigms such as Greater Atlantic studies, we might well turn to the gothic to map the new world’s terrors as well as its complex encounters.

American Literary History


Outstanding Academic Title, Choice magazine

About the Author/Editor

KARI J. WINTER is a professor of American studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. She is the author of Subjects of Slavery, Agents of Change: Women and Power in Gothic Novels and Slave Narratives, 1790–1865 (Georgia) and editor of The Blind African Slave: Or Memoirs of Boyrereau Brinch, Nicknamed Jeffrey Brace.