Creole Testimony and the Black Atlantic: Remapping the Early Slave Narrative
Part of the The New Urban Atlantic book series (NUA)


Throughout this project I’ve focused rather closely on the West Indian and Caribbean framework for understanding the narratives at hand. To this end, I’ve been arguing that taken together these narratives communicate a Caribbean slave narrative tradition. This tradition manifests itself most explicitly in a pervasive multiplicity of voices and forms. And while the Caribbean slave narrative tradition might not have been a totally conscious one during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, in that unlike their U.S. counterparts, the narrators might not have necessarily construed themselves as explicitly participating in and creating similar types of texts, when one considers the Caribbean slave narratives as a group, their structural and thematic similarities are distinctive. In addition to describing Caribbean slavery and the experiences of slavery in first-person narration, narratives within the Caribbean slave narrative tradition are frequently characterized by polyvocality and heteroglossia; they exhibit creole structures in that they are frequently fragmentary or embedded in other texts such as travel narratives and diaries; they frequently incorporate creole words, dialect, and grammatical organizations; they tend to incorporate specific rather than generalized romanticized details about life in Africa; and the narratives are not necessarily organized according to progressive narratives of fugitiveness toward salvation and redemption.


African Slave Narrative Strategy North American Literature Travel Narrative Slave Plantation 
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© Nicole N. Aljoe 2012

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