Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, Written by Herself
First Edition   ©2010

Incidents in the Life of A Slave Girl, Written by Herself

With Related Documents

Harriet Jacobs , Jennifer Fleischner

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-44266-1; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-44266-8; Format: Paper Text, 14 pages

Much of what is known about the experience of slavery comes from first-person accounts written by formerly enslaved men. In this volume, Jennifer Fleischner examines the first- and best-known female account of life under, and escape from, slavery — Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography. In her introduction, Fleischner shows how Jacobs used the written word to liberate herself and promote the end of slavery by carefully discussing her sexual exploitation as a slave in ways that would inspire sympathy in — and not offend — her Victorian white, middle-class, female audience. The rich collection of related documents that accompany Jacobs’ complete narrative — including a selection of Jacobs’ letters and her brother’s account of some of the same incidents Jacobs describes — illuminate Jacobs’ life, her thoughts about writing, and her relationships with white women abolitionists. Document headnotes, a chronology, questions for consideration, a selected bibliography, and a chart of the pseudonyms Jacobs used for her real-life characters further enrich this important contribution to the history of slavery in America.
"This is an excellent introduction to Harriet Jacobs’s narrative. Written clearly and in an accessible manner, it raises important issues on slave women’s experiences, the use of slave narratives and the genesis of Jacobs’s book. More importantly, it does a good job locating the narrative in the history of the abolition movement and the time period."
— Manisha Sinha, University of Massachusetts, Amherst