Date of Award
Master of Arts
Constance J. Post
At an auction in 2001, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Director of African American Studies at Harvard discovered an unpublished manuscript, The Bondwoman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, which immediately became a hotbed for critical commentary because of the controversy surrounding the identity of its author and its genre. Gates hypothesized that Crafts was an African-American fugitive slave and that The Bondwoman's Narrative falls into one (or more) of the following categories: sentimental, slave narrative, or gothic. Though Crafts borrows from the gothic and slave narrative traditions, what has been overlooked in the scholarly conversation is the critical commentary she makes about the destructive nature of slavery and patriarchy through her use of the sentimental genre. Specifically, the themes of death and madness (thought to be problems primarily for white women) to critique these systems make this book an exceptional find.
Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, http://lib.dr.iastate.edu/
Natalie L. Meyer
Meyer, Natalie L., "A sentimental tale: death and madness in The Bondwoman's Narrative" (2008). Retrospective Theses and Dissertations. 15302.