Nat Turner before the bar of judgment : fictional treatments of the Southampton slave insurrection / Mary Kemp Davis.
By: Davis, Mary Kemp.Material type: TextSeries: Southern literary studies: Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, c1999Description: xiv, 298 p. ; 23 cm.ISBN: 0807122491 (cloth : alk. paper); 9780807122495 (cloth : alk. paper).Subject(s): Southampton Insurrection, 1831 -- Literature and the insurrection | Literature and history -- Virginia -- History -- 19th century | Slave insurrections -- Virginia -- Historiography | American fiction -- 19th century -- History and criticism | American fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism | Historical fiction, American -- History and criticism | Turner, Nat, 1800?-1831 -- In literature | African Americans in literature | Slavery in literatureDDC classification: 810/.9/358
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|Book||University of Texas At Tyler Stacks - 3rd Floor||PS374 .S725 D38 1999 (Browse shelf)||Available||0000001951938|
Includes bibliographical references and index.
The politics of repression : Governor John Floyd's official address -- Let the rope talk : the case of the mute defendants -- The kidnapped witnesses : G.P.R. James's The old dominion -- The grand and solemn voice hushed : Harriet Beecher Stowe's Dred -- The accusing eyes of history : Mary Spear Tiernan's Homoselle -- Transgressing the codes : Pauline Carrington Rust Bouvé's Their shadows before -- The crime of innocence : Daniel Panger's Ol' prophet Nat -- The hour of his judgment : William Styron's The confessions of Nat Turner.
An icon in African American history, Nat Turner has generated almost every kind of cultural product, including the historical, imaginative, scholarly, folk, polemical, and reflective. In Nat Turner Before the Bar of Judgment, Mary Kemp Davis offers an original, in-depth analysis of six novels in which Turner figures prominently. This Virginia rebel slave, she argues, has been re-arraigned, retried, and re-sentenced repeatedly during the last century and a half as writers have grappled with the social and moral issues raised by his (in)famous 1831 revolt. Though usually lacking a literal trial, the novels Davis examines all have the theme of judgment at their center, and she ingeniously unravels the "verdict" each author extracts from his or her plot.
According to Davis, all of the novelists derive their fundamental understanding about Turner from Gray's overdetermined text, but they recreate it in their own image. In this fictional tradition that begins with a nineteenth-century romance and ends with postmodern revisions of the form, Davis shows the Turner persona to be multivalent and inherently unstable, each novelist laboring mightily and futilely to arrest it within the confines of art.