Lecture One: A “Bench by the Roadâ€‌: The Forgotten Slaves...

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Transcript of Lecture One: A “Bench by the Roadâ€‌: The Forgotten Slaves...

  • Slide 1
  • Lecture One: A Bench by the Road: The Forgotten Slaves Introduction to Beloved Brief biography of Morrison Morrison on the writing of Beloved: a deliberate act of re-membering and re-inhabiting a traumatic past and the African roots of African-American culture. Some facts about slavery: the focus on the people who were slaves versus Slavery with a capital S The transnational fusion of forms in the novel
  • Slide 2
  • Toni Morrison Born 1931 in Lorrain, Ohio Born 1931 in Lorrain, Ohio Chloe Anthony Wofford Chloe Anthony Wofford The Bluest Eye (1970) The Bluest Eye (1970) Sula (1973) Sula (1973) Song of Solomon (1977) Song of Solomon (1977) Tar Baby (1981) Tar Baby (1981) Beloved (1987) Beloved (1987) Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988 Pulitzer Prize for Beloved in 1988 Jazz (1992) Jazz (1992) Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992) Playing in the Dark: Whiteness and the Literary Imagination (1992) Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993 Paradise (1998) Paradise (1998) Love (2003) Love (2003) Mercy (2008) Mercy (2008) What Moves at the Margin (non fiction) May 2009 What Moves at the Margin (non fiction) May 2009 Home (2012) Home (2012) Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) Awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2012) God Help the Child (2015) God Help the Child (2015)
  • Slide 3
  • Beloved belongs on the highest shelf of our literature even if half a dozen canonised Wonder Bread Boys have to be elbowed off. I cant now imagine our literature without it. Where was this book that weve always needed? Without Beloved, our imagination of America has a heart-sized hole in it big enough to die from. (John Leonard, Toni Morrison Critical Perspectives Past Pastand Present, 45)
  • Slide 4
  • Reading Beloved as a transnational text focused on the historical and cultural entanglement of Africa and America http://www.unc.edu/wrc/maps/08-Map.png
  • Slide 5
  • Transnational fusion of forms/genres Historical accounts of slavery Historical accounts of slavery First-person slave narratives First-person slave narratives Psycho-analysis: the theoretical understandings of the processes of mourning, repression, repetition, remembering Psycho-analysis: the theoretical understandings of the processes of mourning, repression, repetition, remembering African retentions in African-American culture folktale, songs, call and response, the role of art in the community. African retentions in African-American culture folktale, songs, call and response, the role of art in the community. The musical language of African-American culture: spirituals, the blues, the language and music of the church, uses of dialect. The musical language of African-American culture: spirituals, the blues, the language and music of the church, uses of dialect.
  • Slide 6
  • I thought this has got to be the least read of all the books I'd written because it is about something that the characters don't want to remember, I don't want to remember, black people don't want to remember, white people don't want to remember. I mean, it's national amnesia. The Pain Of Being Black TONI MORRISON, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her gritty novel Beloved, smolders at the inequities that blacks and women still face. Interview with BONNIE ANGELO, Time Magazine. 5/22/1989, Vol. 133 Issue 21, p120. 4p. (RU LIB: Ebsco Host Academic Search Premier)
  • Slide 7
  • Slavery wasnt in the literature at all. Part of that, I think, is because on moving from bondage into freedom which has been our goal, we got away from slavery and also from the slaves, theres a difference. We have to re- inhabit those people. Interview with Paul Gilroy in 1993, quoted in Linden Peach p. 95 813.54 MOR/PEA I will call them my people Which were not my people And her beloved Which was not beloved Romans 9:25
  • Slide 8
  • There is no place you or I can go, to think about or not think about, to summon the presences of, or recollect the absences of slaves; nothing that reminds us of the ones who made the journey and of those who did not make it. There is no suitable memorial or plaque or wreath or wall or park or skyscraper lobby. Theres no 300 foot tower. Theres no small bench by the road. There is not even a tree scored, an initial I can visit or you can visit in Charleston or Savannah or New York or Providence or, better still, on the banks of the Mississippi. And because such a place does not exist (that I know of), the book had to. Toni Morrison, A Bench by the Road (1989) Quoted in Casebook p. 3
  • Slide 9
  • A Bench by the Road Sullivans Island South Carolina July 2008 A Bench by the Road Sullivans Island South Carolina July 2008
  • Slide 10
  • Iziko Slave Lodge Adderley Street, Cape Town Iziko Slave Lodge Adderley Street, Cape Town www.iziko.org.za www.iziko.org.za Dutch East India Company Slave Lodge built in 1680 Home to 500 slaves In the 18 th Century more slaves than free people in the Cape
  • Slide 11
  • Elmina Castle, Ghana photos: Nicky Ritchie (2007)
  • Slide 12
  • The Atlantic Slave Trade and Slave Life in the Americas: A Visual Record Jerome S. Handler and Michael L. Tuite Jr. Gate of No Return Cape Coast Castle, Ghana http://hitchcock.itc.virginia.edu/Slavery/index.php The approximately 1,235 images in this collection have been selected from a wide range of sources, most of them dating from the period of slavery. This collection is envisioned as a tool and a resource that can be used by teachers, researchers, students, and the general public - in brief, anyone interested in the experiences of Africans who were enslaved and transported to the Americas and the lives of their descendants in the slave societies of the New World.
  • Slide 13
  • The Middle Passage One of the most famous images of the transatlantic slave trade. After the 1788 Regulation Act, the Brookes was allowed to carry 454 slaves, the approximate number shown in this illustration. However, in four earlier voyages (1781-86), she carried from 609 to 740 slaves so crowding was much worse than shown here. The Illustrated London News (Sept. 27, 1845)
  • Slide 14
  • Results of Severe Whipping, 1863 Harper's Weekly, July 4, 1863 Iron Mask, Neck Collar, Leg Shackles, and Spurs, 18th cent. Thomas Branagan, The Penitential Tyrant; or, Slave Trader Reformed (New York, 1807)
  • Slide 15
  • The Life of Olaudah Equiano the AfricanThe Life of Olaudah Equiano the African (1789) The closeness of the place, and the heat of the climate, added to the number in the ship, which was so crowded that each had scarcely room to turn himself, almost suffocated us. The air soon became unfit for respiration, from a variety of loathsome smells, and brought on a sickness among the slaves, of which many died The shrieks of the women, and the groans of the dying, rendered the whole a scene of horror almost inconceivable. http://www.brycchancarey.com/equiano/index.htm Frederick Douglass: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845)Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave I do not recollect ever seeing my mother by the light of day.... She would lie down with me, and get me to sleep, but long before I waked she was gone. Harriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave GirlHarriet Jacobs: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861) I saw a mother lead seven children to the auction-block. She knew that some of them would be taken from her; but they took all... She begged the trader to tell her where he intended to take them; this he refused to do. How could he, when he knew he would sell them, one by one, wherever he could command the highest price? I met that mother in the street, and her wild, haggard face lives to-day in my mind.
  • Slide 16
  • Twelve Years a Slave (1853) 12 Years a Slave and the roots of America's shameful past Interview with the historical consultant, Harvard academic Henry Louis Gates 12 Years a Slave: in our 'post-racial' age the legacy of slavery lives on Paul Gilroy Paul Gilroy theguardian.com theguardian.com 10 November 2013 theguardian.com 10 November 2013 theguardian.com Why I won't be watching The Butler and 12 Years a Slave Orville Lloyd Douglas Orville Lloyd Douglas theguardian.comtheguardian.com 12 September 2013 theguardian.com Andrew Anthony Andrew Anthony 12 Years a Slave fails to represent black resistance to enslavement Carole Boyce Davies theguardian.comtheguardian.com 10 January 2014 theguardian.com The ObserverThe Observer, 5 January 2014 The Observer Torture porn - Armond White, NYFCC
  • Slide 17
  • Over and over, the writers pull the narrative up short with a phrase such as, but let us drop a veil over these proceedings too terrible to relate. In shaping the experience to make it palatable to those who were in a position to alleviate it, they were silent about many things, and they forgot many other things But most importantly at least for me there was no mention of their interior life. [The writers] job becomes how to rip the veil drawn over proceedings too terrible to relate to find and expose a truth about the interior life of people who didnt write it. to fill in the blanks that the slave narratives left, to part the veil that was so frequently drawn to implement the stories heard. Toni Morrison: Site of Memory
  • Slide 18
  • I [am] deadly serious about fidelity to the milieu out of which I write and in which my ancestors actually lived. Infidelity to that milieu -