Voices of Reticence, Desire, and Resistance in The History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave Related by Herself (1831)

Gioia Angeletti (Universitá degli Studi di Parma)


Il saggio propone una lettura dell’io narrante in The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave Related by Herself (1831), memoir di una donna di origini africane che divenne schiava nelle colonie inglesi dei Caraibi. Il discorso critico ruota attorno alle questioni di authorship, agency e autenticità, concentrandosi, in primo luogo, sulla nozione di invisibilità del soggetto subalterno femminile, così come fu teorizzato da Gayatri Spivak. Dopo aver analizzato il binomio presenza-assenza di tale soggetto, il saggio affronterà le questioni suddette in relazione alla resistenza e resilienza espresse dal narratore e ricorrendo, in questo caso, al paradigma antifreudiano del desiderio e del corpo politico enunciato da Deleuze e Guattari.

DOI: 10.17456/SIMPLE-193

Parole chiaveThe History of Mary Prince, reticence, desire, resistance, resilience, agency.


Allen, Jessica L. 2012. PRINGLE’S PRUNING OF PRINCE. The History of Mary Prince and the Question of Repetition. Callaloo, 35, 2: 509-519.

Andrews, William L. 1986. To Tell a Free Story. The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Asa-Asa, Louis. 1831. Narrative of Louis Asa-Asa, A Captured African. London: F. Westley & A. H. Davis. Edinburgh: Waugh & Innes.

Astell, Mary. 1700. Some Reflections Upon Marriage, Occasion’d by the Duke and Dutchess of Mazarine’s Case; Which is Also Consider’d. London: Printed for John Nutt, near Stationers-Hall.

Banner, Rachel. 2013. SURFACE AND STASIS. Re-reading Slave Narrative via The History of Mary Prince. Callaloo, 36, 2: 298-311.

BARS Blog. 2020. Black Lives Matter: A Statement from the BARS President and Executive, June 2020, http://www.bars.ac.uk/blog/?p=3075 (consulted on 12/06/2021).

Baumgartner, Barbara. 2001. The Body as Evidence: Resistance, Collaboration, and Appropriation in ‘The History of Mary Prince’. Callaloo, 24, 1 (Winter): 253-275.

Bhabha, Homi. 1994. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge.

Blassingame, John W. 1972. The Slave Community: Plantation Life in the Antebellum South. New York: Oxford University Press.

Braxton, Joanne M. 1989. Black Women Writing Autobiography: A Tradition within a Tradition. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Carey, Brycchan. 2005. British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility. Writing, Sentiment and Slavery, 1760-1807. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Carey, Brycchan & Geoffrey Plank eds. 2014. Quakers and Abolition. Champaign: University of Illinois Press.

Casanova, Pascale. 1999. La République mondiale des Lettres. Paris: Éditions du Seuil.

Cugoano, Ottobah. 1999. eBook. Narrative of the Enslavement of Ottobah Cugoano, a Native of Africa; Published by Himself in the Year 1787. Chapel Hill (NC): Academic Affairs Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Davis, Charles T. & Henry Louis Gates Jr. eds. 1991. The Slave’s Narrative. New York: Oxford University Press.

Deleuze, Gilles & Felix Guattari. 1986 [1975]. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Deleuze, Gilles & Felix Guattari. 2009 [1972]. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Penguin Classics.

Douglass, Frederick. 1845. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Boston: Anti-Slavery Office.

Equiano, Olaudah. 2004. The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. Shelly Eversly ed. New York: The Modern Library.

Ferguson, Moira. 2014 [1992]. Subject to Others: British Women Writers and Colonial Slavery, 1670-1834. London: Routledge.

Fisch, Audrey A. 2007. Introduction. Audrey A. Fisch ed. The Cambridge Companion to the African American Slave Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1-7.

Foucault, Michel. 2004. Society Must Be Defended: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76. London: Penguin Books.

Genovese, Eugene. 1974. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Pantheon Books.

Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic. Modernity and Double Consciousness. London: Verso.

Glissant, Édouard. 1997. Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Jacobs, A. Harriet. 1861. Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Boston: Published for the Author.

Kay, Jackie. 2007. Missing Faces. The Guardian, Sat 24 March, http://www.guardian.co.uk/ books/2007/mar/24/featuresreviews.guardianreview25 (consulted on 12/06/2021).

Kay, Jackie. 2010. Red Dust Road. London: Picador.

Lejeune, Philippe. 1989. On Autobiography. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Maddison-MacFadyen, Margot. 2013. Mary Prince, Grand Turk, and Antigua. Slavery & Abolition, 34, 4: 653-662, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0144039X.2012.736697 (consulted on 12/06/2021).

Medina, José. 2011. Toward a Foucaultian Epistemology of Resistance: Counter-Memory, Epistemic Friction, and Guerrilla Pluralism. Foucault Studies, 12 (Oct): 9-35.

Morabito, Valeria. 2019. Feminist Genealogies and the History of Mary Prince, A West Indian Slave. Lilla Maria Crisafulli & Gilberta Golinelli eds. Women’s Voices and Genealogies in Literary Studies in English. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 136-149.

Niemtzov, Annette. 1982. The Problematic of Self in Autobiography: The Example of the Slave Narrative. John Sekora & Darwin T. Turner eds. The Art of Slave Narrative: Original Essays in Criticism and Theory. Macomb (IL): Western Illinois University, 96-109.

Northup, Solomon. 1853. Twelve Years a Slave: Narrative of Solomon   Northup, a Citizen of New-York, Kidnapped in Washington City in 1841, and Rescued in 1853. Auburn, NY: Derby and Miller.

Olney, James. 1981. Metaphors of the Self. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Olney, James. 1984. ‘I Was Born’: Slave Narratives, Their Status as Autobiography and as Literature. Callaloo, 20 (Winter): 46-73.

Pouchet Paquet, Sandra. 1992. The Heartbeat of a West Indian Slave: The History of Mary Prince. African American Review, 26, 1, Women Writers Issue (Spring): 131-146.

Prince, Mary. 1997. The History of Mary Prince. A West Indian Slave. Related by Herself. Moira Ferguson ed. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.

Santamarina, Xiomara. 2007. Black womanhood in North American women’s slave narratives. Audrey A. Fisch ed. The Cambridge Companion to the African American Slave Narrative. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 232-245.

Smith, Adam. 1976 [1759]. The Theory of Moral Sentiments. D. D. Raphael & A. L. Macfie eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Smith, Sidonie. 1987. A Poetics of Women’s Autobiography: Marginality and the Fictions of Self- representation. Bloomington-Indianopolis: Indiana University Press.

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1988. Can the Subaltern Speak? C. Nelson & L. Grossberg eds. Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture. Basingstoke: Macmillan Education, 271-313.

Thomas, Helen. 2000. Romanticism and Slave Narratives: Transatlantic Testimonies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Todorova, Kremena. 2001. “I Will Say the Truth to the English People”: The History of Mary Prince and the Meaning of English History. Texas Studies in Literature and Language, 43, 3 (Fall): 285-302.

Truth, Sojourner. 1850. Narrative of Sojourner Truth, a Northern Slave Boston: The Author.

Warner, Ashton. 1831. Negro Slavery Described by a Negro: Being the Narrative of Ashton Warner, a Native of St. Vincent’s. With an Appendix Containing the Testimony of Four Christian Ministers, Recently Returned from the Colonies, on the System of Slavery as It Now Exists. London: Samuel Maunder.

White, Hayden. 1978. Tropics of Discourse: Essays in Cultural Criticism. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Wollstonecraft, Mary. 1992. A Vindication of the Rights of Woman. Miriam Brody ed. London: Penguin Books.

Views: 619

Download PDF

Downloads: 1119