The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins

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Oxford University Press, Oct 16, 2006 - Fiction - 208 pages
In 1865, The Christian Recorder, the national newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serialized The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, a novel written by Mrs. Julia C. Collins, an African American woman living in the small town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first novel ever published by a black American woman, it is set in antebellum Louisiana and Connecticut, and focuses on the lives of a beautiful mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for fulfillment through love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice. The text shares much with popular nineteenth-century women's fiction, while its dominant themes of interracial romance, hidden African ancestry, and ambiguous racial identity have parallels in the writings of both black and white authors from the period. Begun in the waning months of the Civil War, the novel was near its conclusion when Julia Collins died of tuberculosis in November of 1865. In this first-ever book publication of The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, the editors have composed a hopeful and a tragic ending, reflecting two alternatives Collins almost certainly would have considered for the closing of her unprecedented novel. In their introduction, the editors offer the most complete and current research on the life and community of an author who left few traces in the historical record, and provide extensive discussion of her novel's literary and historical significance. Collins's published essays, which provide intriguing glimpses into the mind of this gifted but overlooked writer, are included in what will prove to be the definitive edition of a major new discovery in African American literature. Its publication contributes immensely to our understanding of black American literature, religion, women's history, community life, and race relations during the era of United States emancipation.
 

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The curse of caste, or, The slave bride: a rediscovered African American novel

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In recent years, several works have been said to be the "first" novel written by an African American woman, notably Harriet Wilson'sOur Nig and Hannah Crafts'sThe Bondwoman's Narrative . Now comes ... Read full review

The curse of caste, or, The slave bride: a rediscovered African American novel

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In recent years, several works have been said to be the "first" novel written by an African American woman, notably Harriet Wilson'sOur Nig and Hannah Crafts'sThe Bondwoman's Narrative . Now comes ... Read full review

Contents

Foreword
vii
Editors Introduction
xi
Notes to Introduction
lv
Editorial Note
lxvii
The Curse of Caste or The Slave Bride 1865
1
Two Alternate Conclusions to The Curse of Caste
112
The Essays of Julia C Collins 18641865
119
Reading Group Guide
133
Notes
135
Acknowledgments
139
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English and Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt and To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Mitch Kachun is Associate Professor of History at Western Michigan University. He is author of Festivals of Freedom: Memory and Meaning in African American Emancipation Celebrations, 1808-1915.

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