Engl. 318: Black Literary Genres: Neo-Slave Narratives
The “neo-slave narrative,” a literary form that came into prominence during the late twentieth century, often borrows the conventions of nineteenth-century-era slave narratives, which include first-person narration, and an account of enslavement from the perspective of the enslaved. Through the form of the neo-slave narrative, contemporary authors speculate about the historical conditions of slavery, and slavery's immediate impact on social and political life. Yet, in addition to being a speculative conduit through which to approach the historical past, the form allows authors to explore slavery's outcomes as they are continuously experienced in the present day. This course will focus on how neo-slave narratives express the experience of historical time, how the past activates new questions about the present, and likewise, how the present opens new considerations about the past. Among authors' works, we will consider those of Toni Morrison, Octavia Butler, and Charles Jo! hnson.