Synopses & Reviews
When Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., saw a modest auction catalogue listing for an "Unpublished Original Manuscript," he knew he could be on the verge of a major literary find. After exhaustive research, he found that the handwritten manuscript he had purchased was the only known novel by a female African American slave and possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere. The Bondwoman's Narrative tells of a self-educated young house slave who knows all too well slavery's brutal limitations, but never suspects that the freedom of her beautiful new mistress is also at risk or that a devastating secret will force them both to flee the South and make a desperate bid for freedom.
"[A] valuable historical document that reveals the sad, humiliating, fearful, and painful lives of slaves....The fact that it offers a glimpse into a shameful part of American history by a voice never before heard makes for an unforgettable reading experience....It's inspiring, uplifting, and a must-read for all who ever wondered how slaves viewed the world around them." Sonia Chopra, BookReporter.com
"Crafts's style clearly owes much to other writings of the time. She borrows heavily from Gothic and sentimental novels, and adopts many of the characteristics of other contemporary slave narratives, but her prose nevertheless speaks powerfully of the degradations a slave in her position would have endured..." The Guardian (U.K.)
The "New York Times" bestseller that is possibly the first novel written by an African-American woman is now in trade paperback. "Immensely entertaining and illuminating."--"New York Times Book Review."
Tells the story of Hannah Crafts, a young slave working on a wealthy North Carolina plantation, who runs away in a bid for freedom up North.
About the Author
Hannah Crafts was a self-educated house slave and the author of The Bondwoman's Narrative
, an unprecedented historical and literary event, written in the 1850's, the only known novel by a female African American slave, and quite possibly the first novel written by a black woman anywhere.
A noted African American scholar, editor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. is one of the most prominent and well-known academics in the United States today. He is the Chair of Harvard's African American studies program, general editor of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature (W.W. Norton & Co., 1996), and co-editor of Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African American Experience (Basic Books, 1999, and Microsoft CD-ROM). Gates is also the author of The African American Century: How Black America Has Shaped Our Country (The Free Press 11/00) and Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man (Random House, 1997), among others. Additionally, he narrated the six-hour PBS documentary series Wonders of the African World (1999).