The Blood-Stained-Gate: An Archive of Emotion and Authenticity in the New Slave Narrative

MURPHY, Laura (2019). The Blood-Stained-Gate: An Archive of Emotion and Authenticity in the New Slave Narrative. In: Comparative Literary Histories of Slavery. John Benjamins Publishing.

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This paper suggests that the slave narrative employs metonym as an archive of memory when authors are unwilling or unable to articulate the experience of trauma explicitly. Drawing on Frederick Douglass’s use of the “blood-stained gate” metaphor as a repository for his emotional suffering, the paper describes how blood serves as a metonymic vehicle for communicating authenticity in narratives in which affective descriptions run counter to the ambitions of the genre. Ismael Beah’s A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier (2007) and Emmanuel Jal’s War Child (2008) present contrasting cases of blood’s capacity to serve as a repository for the emotional content of war. The trope of blood is then is used a lens for understanding why audiences respond skeptically to slave narratives and suggests a less suspicious reading practice among scholars and activists.

Item Type: Book Section
Editor - Baggesgaard, Mads Anders
Editor - Dobie, Madeleine
Editor - Simonsen, Karen-Margrethe
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2020 12:29
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2021 23:36

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