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Haunted PropertySlavery and the Gothic$
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Sarah Gilbreath Ford

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781496829696

Published to University Press of Mississippi: May 2021

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496829696.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM Mississippi SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mississippi.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University Press of Mississippi, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MSSO for personal use.date: 26 September 2021

The Bill of Sale

The Bill of Sale

Gothic, Property, Slavery, and the South

(p.3) Introduction The Bill of Sale
(p.iii) Haunted Property

Sarah Gilbreath Ford

University Press of Mississippi

The introduction explores how the American dream of being able to create one’s identity is entangled with the American nightmare of slavery where personhood is denied. Both the dream and the nightmare depend on the same system of property rights. The very first American narratives use gothic markers, such as ghosts or haunted houses, to question the American dream revealing anxieties about property and property rights, but those anxieties are magnified in narratives that depict slavery. While critics have long argued that American gothic works are driven by slavery, what is missing in the critical conversation is the more direct target of the gothic energy in the eleven texts this book examines: the way that slavery turns people into property. This chapter introduces the four key components of the book’s argument: the gothic, property, slavery, and the South.

Keywords:   Gothic, Slavery, Property, South, American dream

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