Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Fugitive TestimonyOn the Visual Logic of Slave Narratives$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Janet Neary

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780823272891

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823272891.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2017. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use (for details see http://www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 25 November 2017

“The Shadow of the Cloud”: Racial Speculation and Cultural Vision in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave

“The Shadow of the Cloud”: Racial Speculation and Cultural Vision in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave

Chapter:
(p.103) 4 “The Shadow of the Cloud”: Racial Speculation and Cultural Vision in Solomon Northup’s Twelve Years a Slave
Source:
Fugitive Testimony
Author(s):

Janet Neary

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823272891.003.0005

This chapter argues that as a narrative of kidnap rather than birth into slavery, Solomon Northup’s historical predicament dramatizes the rhetorical predicament of all ex-slave narrators. Northup is a free man who has been mistaken for a slave. This is, in existential terms, the condition of all ex-slave narrators: although they have been treated as objects, they must prove to their readers that this is a fundamental misrecognition, that they have been subjects all along. The chapter argues that Northup challenges this visual mistake by producing two contradictory strains within his narrative: he meticulously executes the authenticating requirements that restore his freedom and fulfill the literary expectations of authenticity, while evacuating those conventions of racial meaning through a series of visual metaphors and scenes of witnessing that reveal the absurdity of the racial logic motivating the conventions of authentication.

Keywords:   conventions of authentication, cultural vision, Solomon Northup, racial logic, Twelve Years a Slave

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .