Wednesday, 2 December 2009
The bondwoman's narrative (Crafts) 483
I was intrigued by The bondwoman's narrative when it arrived (I can't remember where from). The format of the book was different to any of the other VMCs, being a large trade paperback - indeed the cover design was not at all reminiscent of a VMC. Secondly, the blurb on the back of the book informed me that this was believed to be the earliest manuscript by a black woman.
The bondwoman narrative tells the story of the literate houseslave Hannah Crafts and provides a detailed account of the life of a slave. We learn about how slaves are treated and mistreated and episodes in her life.
The book as edited by Henry Louis Gates who discovered the manuscript, and there is a very long introduction which describes how he found it and puts it in context. I didn't really like the way that he had edited the volume however; he left in the strikeouts/corrections/mistakes which made it more difficult to read and follow (there were a lot of these). Whilst I could see the reasoning, I found that it was a less smooth read.
Just the one Virago edition, which I own, above.