Title
Narrative of Joanna; an Emancipated Slave, of Surinam: From Stedman's Narrative of a Five Year's Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam
Creator
Stedman, John Gabriel (Author)
Abstract/Description
Based on John Gabriel Stedman's Narrative of a Five Year Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796), this is the 1838 edition of Stedman's travel narrative focuses on his relationship with Joanna, his enslaved mistress from Surinam. This 1838 edition was published by Isaac Knapp, an abolitionist and printer, who advertised Narrative of Joanna within a wider anti-slavery literary compilation. Knapp listed Narrative under "Standard Anti-Slavery Works for sale by Isaac Knapp, at the depository, no. 25, Cornhill, Boston" and included two poems "A Negro Mother's Appeal" and "The Slave-Dealer," in the back matter of the text.
Publisher
First Edition - Boston, MA : Isaac Knapp, 25, Cornhill, 1838
Language
English
Subjects and keywords
Narratives
Slave Narratives
Early Caribbean Slave Narratives
Joanna
Knapp, Isaac
Child, Lydia Maria
Surinam
Permanent URL
Date created
1838
Citation
Stedman, John G. Narrative of Joanna; an Emancipated Slave, of Surinam: From Stedman's Narrative of a Five Year's Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam. Boston: I. Knapp, 1838
Copyright date
1838
Use and reproduction
The digital edition is freely available for public download and non-commercial redistribution
Restriction on access
This digital edition has limited access restrictions. View the terms of access at http://ecda.northeastern.edu/
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Narrative of Joanna; An Emancipated Slave, of Surinam (1838): A Scholarly Introduction

By: Elizabeth Polcha</p style="width: 850px;">

Based on John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Year Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam (1796), this 1838 revised and redacted edition of Stedman’s travel narrative focuses on Joanna, Stedman’s fifteen-year-old enslaved "wife" who cared for him while he was stationed in Surinam. The 1838 edition was published in London by abolitionist Isaac Knapp, who packaged Narrative of Joanna within a larger anti-slavery literary compilation. Knapp listed the text under “Standard Anti-Slavery Works for Sale by Isaac Knapp at the depository, no. 25, Cornhill, Boston" and included two poems “A Negro Mother's Appeal” and “The Slave-Dealer,” in the back matter of the text. Knapp founded the New England Anti-Slavery Society in 1832 along with William Lloyd Garrison. Knapp and Garrison also co-founded the abolitionist newspaper The Liberator in 1831. Like Lydia Maria Child’s redacted version of Stedman and Joanna’s narrative which appeared in the abolitionist collection The Oasis in 1834, Knapp's 1838 Narrative of Joanna speaks in a distinctly American abolitionist register.

Scholars including Tassie Gwilliam, Mary Louise Pratt, Jenny Sharpe, and Nicole Aljoe have drawn attention to the representation of Joanna and Stedman’s relationship in the 1838 Narrative, which Pratt refers to as a “romantic transformation of a particular form of colonial sexual exploitation” (93). Scholars have also written at length about the "sentimentalizing" of Joanna’s story in the later editions of Stedman’s text, including in the 1838 Narrative. Sharpe, in particular, writes about the sentimentalizing editorial shifts between the first published edition of Stedman’s 1796 Narrative of a Five Years Expedition and the later abolitionist editions of the text, noting that “Stedman’s description of Joanna’s sincerity, modesty, youth, and beauty already reflected the primitivism and sentimentalism of antislavery literature" (82).

Bibliography

Garrison, William Lloyd. A House Dividing Against Itself, 1836-1840. Edited by Louis Ruchames. Harvard University Press, 1971.

Gwilliam, Tassie. “‘Scenes of Horror,’ Scenes of Sensibility: Sentimentality and Slavery in John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Years Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam.” ELH 65 no. 3 (1998): 653–673.

Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. Routledge, 2007.

Richard Price and Sally Price. “Introduction.” Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam: Transcribed for the First Time from the Original 1790 Manuscript. Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988.

Sharpe, Jenny. Ghosts of Slavery: A Literary Archaeology of Black Women’s Lives. University of Minnesota Press, 2003.

Secondary Bibliography

Aljoe, Nicole N. Creole Testimonies: Slave Narratives from the British West Indies, 1709-1838. Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

Bohls, Elizabeth A. Slavery and the Politics of Place: Representing the Colonial Caribbean, 1770–1833. Cambridge University Press, 2014.

Kennedy, Dustin. “Going Viral: Stedman’s Narrative, Textual Variation, and Life in Atlantic Studies.” Circulations: Romanticism and the Black Atlantic. Edited by Paul Youngquist and Frances Botkin. N.p. Romantic Circles Praxis, University of Maryland: 1 Oct. 2011.

Sollors, Werner. Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature. Harvard University Press, 1999.

How to cite this scholarly introduction:

Polcha, Elizabeth. “Narrative of Joanna; An Emancipated Slave, of Surinam: A Scholarly Introduction." The Early Caribbean Digital Archive. Boston: Northeastern University Digital Repository Service, 2016.