Monday, July 2, 2007

The Known World

Edward P. Jones, The Known World, HarperCollins, 2003. Using recent scholarship on census data and other 19th century sources, Jones tells an extraordinary story of daughters owning mothers, brothers owning brothers, black slave owners, illegal slave trading and many other aspects of life under slavery that have hitherto been unappreciated. He shows how the institution of slavery corrupted everyone who lived with it, black, white, or otherwise. We are still working through the national issue of slavery. Now we are seeing a great wave of African-American literature, and Toni Morrison, Maryse Conde, and Edwin P. Jones are all tremendous examples.

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