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"Tangled Skeins": Henry Timrod's "The Cotton Boll" and the Slave Narratives

"Tangled Skeins": Henry Timrod's "The Cotton Boll" and the Slave Narratives " angledSkeins": T HenryTimrod's"TheCotton Boll"andtheSlaveNarratives by Carl Plasa Little dreamed the ingenious Eli Whitney, when riveting the teeth on his admirable invention, the cotton-gin, that he was at the same time riveting the fetters on the slave, and the foulest of institutions on the framework of American society. -- "Revolution of the Spindles, For the Overthrow of American Slavery" 1 According to Toni Morrison, neither slavery nor black people at large were phenomena that nineteenth-century American writers could readily escape. As she observes in Playing in the Dark (1992): The alertness to a slave population did not confine itself to the personal encounters that writers may have had. Slave narratives were a nineteenth-century publication boom. The press, the political campaigns, and the policy of various parties and elected officials were rife with the discourse of slavery and freedom. It would have been an isolato indeed who was unaware of the most explosive issue in the nation. How could one speak of profit, economy, labor, progress, suffragism, Christianity, the frontier, the formation of new states, the acquisition of new lands, education, transportation (freight and passengers), neighborhoods, the military -- of almost anything a country concerns itself with -- without http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

"Tangled Skeins": Henry Timrod's "The Cotton Boll" and the Slave Narratives

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 45 (1) – Jul 19, 2012

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 The Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English and Comparative Literature.
ISSN
1534-1461
Publisher site
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Abstract

" angledSkeins": T HenryTimrod's"TheCotton Boll"andtheSlaveNarratives by Carl Plasa Little dreamed the ingenious Eli Whitney, when riveting the teeth on his admirable invention, the cotton-gin, that he was at the same time riveting the fetters on the slave, and the foulest of institutions on the framework of American society. -- "Revolution of the Spindles, For the Overthrow of American Slavery" 1 According to Toni Morrison, neither slavery nor black people at large were phenomena that nineteenth-century American writers could readily escape. As she observes in Playing in the Dark (1992): The alertness to a slave population did not confine itself to the personal encounters that writers may have had. Slave narratives were a nineteenth-century publication boom. The press, the political campaigns, and the policy of various parties and elected officials were rife with the discourse of slavery and freedom. It would have been an isolato indeed who was unaware of the most explosive issue in the nation. How could one speak of profit, economy, labor, progress, suffragism, Christianity, the frontier, the formation of new states, the acquisition of new lands, education, transportation (freight and passengers), neighborhoods, the military -- of almost anything a country concerns itself with -- without

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jul 19, 2012

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