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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: 21 September 2021

From Damsels to Specters in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative

From Damsels to Specters in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative

Chapter:
(p.29) Chapter One From Damsels to Specters in Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative
Source:
Haunted Property
Author(s):

Sarah Gilbreath Ford

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496829696.003.0002

This chapter focuses on Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) and Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative (written circa 1858 and published 2002). Although Jacobs and Crafts depict their personal experiences in slavery, they infuse their stories with gothic tropes to employ the power of fictionality. Gothic damsels in distress are beset by lascivious slaveholders and traders who are cast as monstrous villains. While the damsels are haunted by the law’s pronouncement of them as merely property, they find refuge in haunted spaces, thereby claiming a different kind of ownership. This spectral possession is then doubled by the authors, Jacobs and Crafts, who shape their narratives as literary property they themselves can own.

Keywords:   Harriet Jacobs, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Hannah Crafts, The Bondwoman’s Narrative, Slave narrative, Damsel in distress

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