From Library Journal
Published in 1861, this was one of the first personal narratives by a slave and one of the few written by a woman. Jacobs (1813-97) was a slave in North Carolina and suffered terribly, along with her family, at the hands of a ruthless owner. She made several failed attempts to escape before successfully making her way North, though it took years of hiding and slow progress. Eventually, she was reunited with her children. For all biography and history collections.
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.
A reprint of an autobiography first published in 1861 under a pseudonym. It tells the story of a woman born a slave in 1813 and how she struggled all her life to free herself and those she loved--indeed, as an active abolitionist she fought for the freedom of all the slaves. This may be the most important story ever written by a slave woman, capturing as it does the gross indignities as well as the subtler social arrangements of the time. An introduction is invaluable in clarifying many incidents and personalities...The author writes with passion and insight into the peculiar institution of slavery. Her writing, modern in several respects, prefigures many of the developments in the later literature of the South. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Harriet A. Jacobs was not an ordinary slave girl, and her autobiography is not an ordinary account of the miseries of slavery. She was a slave who triumphed not only by luck or piety or passivity but by skillful planning and effective deceit...Excellent introduction...Even for those who have read extensively about the South's peculiar institution, this autobiography of a slave will not easily be forgotten. (American Heritage)
Of these female slave narratives, Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself is the crowning achievement. Manifesting a command of rhetorical and narrative strategies rivaled only by that of Frederick Douglass, Jacobs's autobiography is one of the major works of Afro-American literature...Jacobs's narrative is a bold and gripping fusion of two major literary forms: she borrowed from the popular sentimental novel on one hand, and the slave narrative genre on the other. Her tale gains its importance from the fact that she charts, in great and painful detail, the sexual exploitation that daily haunted her life--and the life of every other black female slave...Ms. Yellin's superbly researched edition insures that Harriet Jacobs will never be lost again.
--Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (New York Times Book Review)
[The book] is a major work in the canon of writing by Afro-American women...Jacobs's book--reaching across the gulf separating black women from white, slave from free, poor from rich, 'bad' women from 'good'--represents an early attempt to establish an American sisterhood.
--Wayne Lionel Aponte (The Nation)
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.