|Author/Contributor(s):||Andrews, William L|
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
narratives of the most celebrated fugitives from U.S. slavery, such as Frederick Douglass, Harriet Jacobs, William Wells Brown, and William and Ellen Craft. Slavery and Class in the American South explains why social and economic distinctions developed and how they functioned among the enslaved. Noting that the majority of the slave narrators came from the higher echelons of the enslaved, Andrews also pays close attention to the narratives that have received the least notice from scholars, those from the most exploited class, the field hands. By examining the lives of the most and least acclaimed heroes and heroines of the slave narrative, Andrews shows how the dividing edge of social class cut two ways, sometimes separating upper and lower strata of slaves to their enslavers' advantage, but at other times fueling pride, aspiration, and a sense of just deserts among some of the enslaved that could be satisfied by nothing less than complete freedom. The culmination of a career spent studying African American literature, this comprehensive study of the antebellum slave narrative offers a ground-breaking consideration of a unique genre of American literature.