Liberty's Captives: Narratives of Confinement in the Print Culture of the Early Republic : the Jefferson City Editorial Project

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Daniel E. Williams, Christina Riley Brown
University of Georgia Press, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 322 pages
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An astonishing variety of captivity narratives emerged in the fifty years following the American Revolution; however, discussions about them have usually focused on accounts of Native American captivities. To most readers, then, captivity narratives are synonymous with "godless savages," the vast frontier, and the trials of kidnapped settlers. This anthology, the first to bring together various types of captivity narratives in a comparative way, broadens our view of the form as it shows how the captivity narrative, in the nation-building years from 1770 to 1820, helped to shape national debates about American liberty and self-determination.

Included here are accounts by Indian captives, but also prisoners of war, slaves, victims of pirates and Barbary corsairs, impressed sailors, and shipwreck survivors. The volume's seventeen selections have been culled from hundreds of such texts, edited according to scholarly standards, and reproduced with the highest possible degree of fidelity to the originals.

Some selections are fictional or borrow heavily from other, true narratives; all are sensational. Immensely popular with American readers, they were also a lucrative commodity that helped to catalyze the explosion of print culture in the early Republic. As Americans began to personalize the rhetoric of their recent revolution, captivity narratives textually enacted graphic scenes of defiance toward deprivation, confinement, and coercion. At a critical point in American history they helped make the ideals of nationhood real to common citizens.

  

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Contents

A Narrative of the Capture and Treatment of John Dodge by
17
A Surprising Account of the Captivity and Escape of Philip MDonald
32
Narrative of the Remarkable Occurrences in the Life of John Blatchford
50
A Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of Mr Ebenezer Fletcher
67
History of the Captivity and Sufferings of Mrs Maria Martin Who
105
The Trial of Amos Broad and His Wife for Assaulting and Beating
131
The Narrative of John Thomson One of the Persons Intended to
155
A Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of John Turner among
180
The Life and Adventures ofJoshua Penny Who Was Impressed into
197
An Affecting Account of the Tragical Death of Major Swan and of
239
A Concise Narrative oj the Barbarous Treatment Experienced
255
An Affecting Narrative of the Captivity and Sufferings of Thomas
270
A Jon rnal of the Shipwreck and Sufferings of Daniel Foss 1816
284
Narrative of the Tragical Death of Mr Darius Barber and His Seven
299
Works Cited
313
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About the author (2006)

Daniel E. Williams is a professor of English at Texas Christian University. He has also edited an anthology of early American criminal narratives, Pillars of Salt.

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