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Creole Testimonies: Slave Narratives from the British West by N. Aljoe

By N. Aljoe

Analyses the relationships one of the socio-historical contexts, commonly used varieties, and rhetorical techniques of British West Indian slave narratives. Grounded via the syncretic theories of creolisation and testimonio  it breaks new floor via examining those dictated and fragmentary narratives on their lonesome phrases as examples of 'creole testimony'.

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Additional info for Creole Testimonies: Slave Narratives from the British West Indies, 1709–1838

Sample text

The first two chapters engage with the term “creole” and explore its connections to the distinctions of the voice and form of the Caribbean slave narratives that I n t r oduc t ion 21 I argue are grounded in the experiences and materialities of social and linguistic creolization. The final two chapters consider two of the foundational aspects of “testimony” within the concept of creole testimony by explicitly exploring its legal and religious connections. More specifically, I begin by illuminating the fragmentary structural forms of many West Indian slave narratives.

John G. S—n, who Shall explain it more at large one day, if Providance Spares him in life” (Price 1988: xxvii). Providence did spare his life, and upon his return to England in 1788 he began to revise his diaries for publication. 18 Although Joanna’s collated 1824 slave narrative is mediated by Stedman’s framing narrative, her “voice” is literally highlighted in the excised text through the rhetorical gesture of reconstructed and attributed speech—whereas throughout the original narrative Stedman speaks for Joanna.

We see this most frequently in the movement between the domestic spaces associated with Joanna and the violent spaces of warfare. The calm domestic spaces though offering a respite, not only from the military campaign but also from the brutality of slavery— a space in which to rest and an oblique reminder of “home” and its tender comforts— they nonetheless exist alongside that brutality. When Stedman returns from the campaign for much needed rest and relaxation, the description of Joanna’s house suggests a warm bower (1824: 107–108).

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