The Bondswoman's Narrative

The Bondswoman s Narrative An unprecedented historical and literary event this tale written in the s is the only known novel by a female African American slave and quite possibly the first novel written by a black woman a

  • Title: The Bondswoman's Narrative
  • Author: Hannah Crafts Henry Louis Gates Jr.
  • ISBN: 9780641766657
  • Page: 481
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An unprecedented historical and literary event, this tale written in the 1850s is the only known novel by a female African American slave, and quite possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere A work recently uncovered by renowned scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr it is a stirring, page turning story of passing and the adventures of a young slaveAn unprecedented historical and literary event, this tale written in the 1850s is the only known novel by a female African American slave, and quite possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere A work recently uncovered by renowned scholar Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr it is a stirring, page turning story of passing and the adventures of a young slave as she makes her way to freedom.When Professor Gates saw that modest listing in an auction catalogue for African American artifacts, he immediately knew he could be on the verge of a major discovery After exhaustively researching the handwritten manuscript s authenticity, he found that his instincts were right He had purchased a genuine autobiographical novel by a female slave who called herself and her story s main character Hannah Crafts.This facsimile edition of The Bondwoman s Narrative offers a high resolution reproduction of the manuscript that Professor Gates found, presenting Crafts tale with a poignancy and power not found elsewhere In her own hand the author tells of a self educated young house slave all too aware of her bondage who never suspects that the freedom of her mistress is also at risk or how both will soon flee slave hunters and another ever dangerous enemy.Together with Professor Gates s brilliant introduction which includes the story of his search for the real Hannah Crafts, the biographical facts that laid the groundwork for her novel, and a fascinating look at other slave narratives of the time The Bondwoman s Narrative offers a unique and unforgettable reading experience In it, a voice that has never been heard rings out, and an undiscovered story at the heartof the American experience is finally told.

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    About “Hannah Crafts Henry Louis Gates Jr.”

    1. Hannah Crafts Henry Louis Gates Jr.

      Hannah Bond, pen name Hannah Crafts b.1830s , was an African American writer who escaped from slavery in North Carolina about 1857 and went to the North Bond settled in New Jersey, likely married Thomas Vincent, and became a teacher She wrote The Bondwoman s Narrative by Hannah Crafts after gaining freedom, which may be the first novel by an African American woman It is the only known one by a fugitive slave woman.Apparently written in the late 1850s, the novel was published in 2002 for the first time after Henry Louis Gates, Jr a Harvard University professor of African American literature and history, purchased the manuscript and had it authenticated I t rapidly became a bestseller.Bond s identity was documented in 2013 by Gregg Hecimovich of Winthrop University, who found that she had been held by John Hill Wheeler of Murfreesboro, North Carolina He had identified many details of her life Gates and other major scholars have supported his conclusions from

    347 thoughts on “The Bondswoman's Narrative”

    1. This book is the only known novel written by a female African American slave. It was bought at an auction and edited/published by Henry Gates. Half the book details the authenticity of the find and provides evidence for who Hannah Crafts really was. That in itself makes the book very interesting just in the fact that it exists. It tells the story of a self-educated house slave who eventually escape to the North. The main theme is that even a slave who is well-treated, etc. lives a sad life becau [...]

    2. This is an amazing book, a real page-turner, by a gifted writer who just happens to have been a fugitive slave. It's probably the first novel written by a black woman, it dates from 1853-1861, and it was discovered by Henry Louis Gates in an unpublished, unedited handwritten manuscript, passed down from the estate of Dorothy Porter Wesley, a Howard University scholar of antebellum writing. The story of the manuscript's discovery is fascinating in itself (Wesley bought it for $85 in 1948), and Ga [...]

    3. Given the proper context by a very enlightening introductory essay by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (that is about half of this volume's content), the novel written by Hannah Crafts is a pretty remarkable piece of writing, not only for its insight into the life of a slave, but also for the rather clever and immenantly amateur way in which it is written.Ms. Crafts novel is a hodge-podge of styles and genres with entire passages practically lifted straight from the works of Dickens and Poe and the like. [...]

    4. This is a novel likely based on the author's life. The manuscript was found at auction and was the subject of a thesis. It was written by a slave woman who escaped slavery in the 1850's.

    5. This novel was written by a fugitive slave who had escaped from North Carolina named Hannah Bond. It is the only known novel by a fugitive slave and the first written by an African American woman, probably sometime between 1853 to 1861. It is at least partially autobiographical.I found it fascinating reading. it was definitely a novel of its times, heavy on gothic elements and on Christianity. It also though provided a look into slaves and the relationships between the different types and betwee [...]

    6. The Bondswoman's Narrative is an important historical artifact, but what struck me most forcefully was the book's energy. I found the mix of genres exhilarating rather than amateur-if you are the first to imagine your culture's experience, you want to capture it all, in as many ways as you can. I thrilled to Crafts' allusions, mostly from memory it seems, to a range of literature from the Bible to Byron. There are wonderfully evocative scenes, and a cracking pace. Polished it ain't, but there's [...]

    7. This book is amazing simply for what it is; possibly the first and only narrative written by a female African American slave. The literary analysis and discussion at the beginning is fascinating. Very interesting.

    8. In 2001, scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. bought a previously unpublished manuscript from the 1850s, which he believed and it appears now is the first novel written by a fugitive slave. Gates provides a long and detailed introduction explaining the research he did into the manuscript's history, trying to find its author, and the introduction and notes are every bit as interesting as the novel itself.The novel is told, in the first person, by a young slave who flees with her mistress when her mistre [...]

    9. An autobiographical novel discovered as a handwritten manuscript in the early 20th century and acquired at auction by Gates in 2001. There had been suspicions that this was a novel written by an escaped female slave and Gates' investigation seems to confirm that, including an analysis he had done by Dr. Joe Nickell, an investigator and historical-document examiner, which confirmed that the document had most likely been written in the late 1850s by a young African woman intimately familiar with s [...]

    10. I loved the 70 page introduction and editor's notes almost more than the actual story. However, this novel should be required reading in all k-12 education programs. A first person narrative (non-autobiographical) of a female "house slave" in the Antebellum South written presumably by an actual female house slave shortly before the civil war broke out. It has beautiful prose, clear narrative, and lots of historical tid-bits that are counter-intuitive to what it is like to be a slave that you won [...]

    11. This was a fascinating peek into American history, women's literature, slave narratives and gothic novels. I gave it five stars because I'm not going to judge the author's sometimes fractured grammar and spelling. The book was spell-binding."Hannah Crafts" was a literate slave woman, light-skinned, able to pass for white when she needed to. The extensive research Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. puts into tracking down the author of The Bondwoman's Narrative reads itself like a detective novel, and on [...]

    12. I was actually expecting a more non-fiction analysis by Gates, but the book truely is the novel Crafts set to paper. For an unpublished work, the story is surprisingly good and there is a decent amount of action and suspense mixed with the trials of slavery. I can see this novel used in the classroom (probably for high school as there is a lot of material concerning sex) as Crafts touches upon many of the trials of slavery - from the withholding of education (and even religion) to the separation [...]

    13. This will probably sound weird, but I listened to the audio book of this when I went to the gym. It may not be the kind of audiobook you'd usually associate with that activity, but more than a mere historical document, the Bondwoman's Narrative is actually a riveting story of sex, violence, intrigue, and faith. Crafts situates her slave protagonist within the tradition of the Victorian novel heroines of her time, embodying her with a dignity and intellect in bewildering and frightening contrast [...]

    14. Only had time to read the introduction before returning this to the library, but the story of the acquisition and publishing of this narrative is equally as compelling as the work itself. I read particularly slack-jawed the parts where Gates details how historians came to feel for certain that Hannah Crafts was black, and not a white author passing for black, for abolitionist or other reasons. She treats blackness as the norm, first of all, and if she ever points out color at all, she does it af [...]

    15. Although this is entitled "A Novel," recent findings indicate that it is truly a memoir, and was indeed written by a slave woman (Hannah Bond) who lived in the Antebellum South. The Introduction to the book (written in 2002) calls into question the authorship and even postulates that it may have been written by a white abolitionist. This has been disproven, as stated above. Since the story is written in the style of the mid-nineteenth century, it can at times be cumbersome and frustrating to mod [...]

    16. The thing that I found so fascinating about this book is quarter or so of the book itself proving who this woman was and how they came about this information. The writer of those first pages purchased this handwritten manuscript at an auction and discovered that was the only known novel by a female African American slave and possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere. The story itself is an interesting read, but the thing that hooked me in general, is all the history and research [...]

    17. Fascinating this is both clearly based on autobiographical details and equally clearly contains embellished storylines. First novel written by an African American fugitive 'slave'. I quite enjoyed this. I read Gates research in uncovering and researching this amazing novel. Hannah is observant and her characterization of the Wheelers is well done. I found the beginning and end of the story somewhat silly, as was the style the novel was in. Otherwise I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was surpris [...]

    18. If I can be an English Grad student for a moment, let me say that this text is salubrious by way of its inhering sense of the deleterious. The latter aspect, of course, comes from the fact that this is a novel written against and because of slavery in the United States. The former comes from the fact that bucking against its own origins (much like the author herself) this text makes itself known as the impassioned plea of a mixed race woman's humanity under the auspices of one of the more dehuma [...]

    19. Few events are more thrilling than the discovery of a buried treasure. Some years ago, when scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was leafing through an auction catalog, he noticed a listing for an unpublished, clothbound manuscript thought to date from the 1850s: "The Bondwoman's Narrative, by Hannah Crafts, a Fugitive Slave, Recently Escaped from North Carolina." Gates realized that, if genuine, this would be the first novel known to have been written by a black woman in America, as well as the only o [...]

    20. Book on tapeSo, my first day with the book on tape was cool. I had to learn how to use the cassette player in my carere's no pause button, which is strangerprised that VW wasn't up on that. What if you get a call (which I did) or go through a drive-thru (which I did--for Starbucks, not junker food)? Understandably, not everybody's rockin' it out to cassette tapes anymore, but still was very inconvenient. The novel d'audio is really interesting. Strange though, 'cause I'm sure I'd enjoy it more i [...]

    21. A fascinating account of life as a slave written by a female African-American around 1855, making it possibly the first novel by a black woman. I found the distinctions even among the slaves to be rather intriguing; it is clear that the author considers herself, as a light-skinned, educated and well-read slave, above the "degraded" fieldhands, who are much darker in skin tone and who appear to her to be far more vulgar. This novel makes it so very clear why slavery is such a terrible thing, for [...]

    22. This may be one of the more historically important books I've read, being one of the earliest examples of a novel written by a woman who was a slave in the US. What's more, it's a fictionalized autobiography that's a fairly ripping read and highly recommended for fans of gothic novels, since the author (who may or may not be a woman named Hannah Crafts) borrows tropes liberally from that popular literary form. It's not the most elegantly-written or subtle of books to be sure, but I find the narr [...]

    23. This was a very interesting book. I read it in an afternoon, including all the preface, foot notes etc. While it was written as an autobiography, more of a diary, it had a constant voice. Hannah Crafts didn't have it as bad as many of the slaves stories I've heard about or read about. What she does extremely well is to get across the point that freedom isn't always about just being able to go where you want when you want. It isn't just about what you are allowed to learn. It is about the restric [...]

    24. Besides being historically significant, it is also a captivating story, providing perhaps the first inside look of slavery, recorded in the 1850's, by a female slave. This subject has always fascinated me, and I have read many books about slavery and the segregation of people in the South. But I have been waiting to read this account, and even the first quarter of the book, documenting the research and background was excitingke the discovery of an unknown artifact.The co-author/publisher purchas [...]

    25. I don't feel like I can really rate this book because it's so many different types of books all in one. This is possibly the first novel written by an African-American woman and/or a female slave, and the work that Henry Louis Gates did to trace this book through history is easily as fascinating as the novel itself. Definitely do not skip the preface for this book - it's as vital to the story as anything.The novel itself was captivating and probably one of the most accurate portrayals of slavery [...]

    26. In 2002, the renown Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. found an unpublished, handwritten manuscript in a lot for sale in the Swann Galleries auction. It turned out to be an authentic slave narrative written in the 1850's, telling the tale of a mulatto woman who lived under, then eventually escaped from slavery in the American South. Ms. Hannah Crafts (not her real name?) carries the reader gracefully through a story of terrible suffering, giving insight into how women thought about and survived th [...]

    27. Very interesting read. The original manuscript was bought at auction by Henry Louis Gates Jr. who also wrote the forward about the provenance of the book. The novel itself was followed by a scientific report on the physical manuscript. Although written in a very flowery and/or Gothic manner, the book is easy to read as it flows well and the story captures the reader right at the beginning. It is very hard to believe it was written by a slave, especially since it was against the law for anyone to [...]

    28. Five stars for the stellar research and detail of authenticating the book.Three stars for the story itself, as far as stories go.Yes, this book should be judged not on the story's face value, but rather what this book represents, as a fictionalized account, written by what is more than likely a former slave that escaped from her bondage. I realize this, and appreciate what this book means in terms of history and what this book can tell us. There were some truly, truly heartbreakingly honest and [...]

    29. The Bondwoman's Narrative is really two books in one - first, Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s story of the discovery of the original manuscript and its analysis, and secondly, the actual novel by Hannah Crafts.I found Gates's introduction and literary analysis helpful, although I was puzzled by the extent to which he believed it to be autobiographical.Overall, my enthusiasm for the book was dampened by my general lack of interest in gothic or sentimental literature. As a writer, however, I was greatly [...]

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