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Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department/Program



Gerald Early


English (en)

Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2005

Degree Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


The purpose of this comparative study is first to acknowledge the Black female author's inclusion in the burgeoning literary marketplace of the nineteenth century, and second, to reinstate her in the scholarship of sentimental writings. I will focus on two representative texts from the English-speaking Caribbean: Mary Prince's The History of Mary Prince (1831), Mary Seacole's Wonderful Adventures of Mrs. Seacole in Different Lands (1857); and two texts from the United States: Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861), and Harriet Wilson's Our Nig: or, Sketches From the Life of a Free Black (1859). Prince, Jacobs, Seacole and Wilson incorporate sentimentality, memory, work ethics and even intimacy as literary tropes in their narratives that distinguish them as individuals, in spite of nineteenth century socialized and racialized limitations. In other words, by writing and publishing her story, each of these women transformed her visibly Black body into an even more public one---written text. And in each text, she fashioned yet another body---the emotive, thinking, useful human body. This body, if not entirely deracialized, is socialized and identifiably "woman."



Permanent URL: Print version available in library catalog at Call #: LD5791.8.PhD2005 F69. Binding title: Narratives by 19th century Black females