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The House Of Bondage, Or, Charlotte Brooks And Other Slaves
by Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert
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"One of the most interesting volumes...is also one of the most eclectic. The House of Bondage or Charlotte Brooks and Other Slaves by Octavia Rogers Albert is a fascinating piece of literature partly because it is so experimental in its attempt to blend an interview format with slave narratives, biographical accounts, historical information, and even her own personal commentary. Published in 1890, House of Bondage is an example of the black oral tradition in process. The reader becomes an eye-witness to black culture and history in formation...Albert skillfully moves the dialogue between the black vernacular of the slaves and the standard English of the black middle-class narrator....Frances Smith Foster in her introduction to House of Bonage argues that the narrative authority of Albert's personal experience makes her book more authentic in its portrayal of slavery [than Uncle Tom's Cabin]."--The Women's Review of Books
"The personal narratives, especially a group narrative like Octavia Albert's 'House of Bondage' (1890), were a means of perserving fragile antebellum life history as the slave generations grew old and died. Just as important, they provided a counterweight against the plantation myth and the denigration of black freedom being generated by respected white novelists such as Thomas Nelson Page and Thomas Dixon, and historians such as James Ford Rhodes."--Eric J. Sundquist in The New York Times Book Review quist
None but those who resided in the South during the time of slavery can realize the terrible punishments that were visited upon the slaves. Virtue and self-respect were denied them. -Octavia Albert in The House of Bondage With a fiery, righteous rage, former slave Octavia Albert set about, after Emancipation, collecting the true stories of those that "terrible institution" affected most. That raw material gave rise to The House of Bondage, a refutation to Uncle Tom's Cabin, and an answer to other works of literature of the period that purported to show the horror of slavery even though their authors had never set foot in the South. First published in 1890, this is an important example of a sadly small genre: 19th-century literature by African-American women. With its straightforward and heartbreaking litany of cruelty at the hands of slaveowners, families forever divided, and the harsh effects of particularly hard labor, this is an unforgettable work that should be read by every American who thinks he knows his nation's history. Teacher and social activist OCTAVIA V. ROGERS ALBERT (1853-c.1890) was born into slavery in Georgia; after Emancipation, she studied at Atlanta University.
From the Publisher
COSIMO CLASSICS offers distinctive titles by the great authors and thinkers who have inspired, informed and engaged readers throughout the ages.
About the Author
Frances Smith Foster is at San Diego State University.
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