Heidi Kim

Web site of Professor Heidi Kim, Dept. of English and Comparative Literature

Tag: antislavery literature

Twelve Years a Slave

twelve_years_a_slave_p323How Twelve Years a Slave was Made, 150 years before 12 Years a Slave” was published in 2014 in the Los Angeles Review of Books. Looking at the literary history of the original publication of Solomon Northrup’s memoir, Prof. Kim explores the complicated politics of publishing a slavery narrative for a largely white audience.

A Francophone antislavery epic

“The Francophone Uncle Tom’s Cabin” was published in the Little-Known Documents section of PMLA (Proceedings of the Modern Language Association) in May 2010 (125(3):798-815).

Charles Testut, a French-born Creole radical publisher and writer, wrote an epic novel detailing the adventures and eventual triumph of a married couple of Guadeloupean slaves illegally sold to the United States.  It bears clear resemblances to Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but with Testut’s politics and his heavy French Romantic influence (by writers such as Alexandre Dumas), it is much more violent, sexual, and openly political a novel, with several diatribes against Catholic zealots, Louisiana judicial corruption, and racial prejudice.  Though it was written before the Civil War, Testut was only able to publish the novel in 1872.

Article link here (requires subscription or pay per article). More information and an excerpt are available here.

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