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Not so simple tales : the historicity and ambiguity of Equiano's anecdotes

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dc.contributor.advisor McGrane, Laura Weiss, Matthew J. en_US 2007-02-28T20:24:55Z 2007-02-28T20:24:55Z 2004 en_US
dc.description.abstract My essay is a rhetorical analysis of the late 18th-century slave narrative The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written By Himself. I examine both the function and the intended purpose of the anecdotes Equiano intersperses throughout his auto-biography, as well as exploring the relationship of the genre of anecdotes to the practice of history. In the Interesting Narrative specifically, I explore the ways in which Equiano's anecdotes answer (i.e. provide a narrative strategy that undermines) two major critiques of his work. The first charge, that of general incompetence and an inability to think abstractly, which was based on his race, was faced by almost every author of African descent in the 18th and 19th centuries. The second, calling into question Equiano's birthplace (he claims to have been born in Africa), has been taken up again by critics in the 1980s and 90s. My thesis argues that not only is Equiano's rhetorical strategy a sufficient "answer" to these charges, but that indicting the Interesting Narrative over the question of birthplace is to miss the point of reading it in the first place. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Haverford College. Dept. of English en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Equiano, Olaudah, 1745-1797. Interesting narrative of the life of Olaudah Equiano
dc.subject.lcsh Equiano, Olaudah, 1745-1797 -- Criticism and interpretation
dc.title Not so simple tales : the historicity and ambiguity of Equiano's anecdotes en_US
dc.type Thesis (B.A.) en_US
dc.rights.access Open Access
dc.description.award The Newton Prize in English Literature

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