In The Slumbering Volcano, Maggie Montesinos Sale investigates depictions of nineteenth-century slave ship revolts to explore the notion of rebellion in formulations of United States national identity. Analyzing how such revolts inspired citizens to debate whether political theory directed at free men could be extended toward blacks, Sale compares the reception of fictionalized versions of ship revolts published in the 1850s—Benito Cereno by Herman Melville and The Heroic Slave by Frederick Douglass—with the previous decade’s public accounts of actual rebellions by enslaved people on the ships Amistad and Creole.
This comparison of narrative response with written public reaction to the actual revolts allows Sale to investigate the precise manner in which public opinion regarding definitions of liberty evolved over this crucial period of time between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. Mapping the ways in which unequally empowered groups claimed and transformed statements associated with the discourse of national identity, Sale succeeds in recovering a historically informed sense of the discursive and activist options available to people of another era.
In its demonstration of how the United States has been uniquely shaped by its dual status as both an imperial and a postcolonial power, this study on the discourse of natural rights and national identity in the pre-Civil War United States will interest students and scholars of American studies, African American studies, gender studies, and American history and literature.
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Other reviews of The Slumbering Volcano:
"[The Slumbering Volcano] is marked by intensive and ingenious explication of texts."-Choice
"Maggie Montesinos Sale investigates the depiction of nineteenth century slave ship revolts to explore the notion of the rebellion in formulations of United States national identity. Analyzing other revolts besides the now famous Amistad affair, Montesinos Sale succeeds in providing a background of rebellion to support her thesis. . . . Written in a very readable manner, her concepts are intriguing and refreshing. Well worth reading."-Caribbean Historical and Genealogical Journal
"Readers will gain much from a new book by Maggie Montesinos Sale entitled The Slumbering Volcano. Sale, a professor of women's and gender studies at Columbia University, includes a detailed 60-page chapter on the Amistad affair as well as a 25-page chapter on the Creole affair (which took place in 1841, two years after the Amistad uprising). She also provides chapters analyzing two fictionalized accounts of ship revolts that appeared during the 1850s: 'Benito Cereno' by Herman Melville and 'The Heroic Slave' by Frederic Douglass."-The Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY)
"Maggie Montesinos Sale's ambitious book uses these slave ship revolts and stories as departure points to reconsider American nationalism, Lockean natural rights, and race as they were then understood. At her best, Sale presents the ironies underlying Americans' trope of revolutionary struggle in light of popular responses to slave rebellions aboard ship. . . . Provocative, complex, and tantalizing. . . . Sale is at once historian, literary critic, and theorist exploring a variety of discourses. . . . [T]here are many rewards here for students of cultural studies interested in the interrelationship of gender, race, and rhetoric."-The Northern Mariner
"In this well-written and tightly argued study, Maggie Montesinos Sale skillfully unites history, gender studies, literary and political theory to unravel the complex and troubled relationship between race, slavery, rebellion and the formation of national identity in antebellum America."-Slavery and AbolitionFrom the Back Cover:
"Sale combines an impressive array of historical material with keen analytic skills, an attention to the larger picture with a sensitivity to the nuances of language and rhetoric. The result is an original reading of how and why enslaved people were unable to tell their own stories."--Priscilla Wald, University of Washington
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Buchbeschreibung Durham , NC . : Duke University Press, 1997. Paperback. X, 264 p. ; 24 cm. Met lit. opg. en index. (New Americanists). Condition : very good copy. ISBN 0822319926[KEYWORDS: HISTORY*, slavery. Artikel-Nr. 215758