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Harriet Wilson’s New England
Race, Writing, and Region
JerriAnne Boggis, ed.; Eve Allegra Raimon, ed.; Barbara W. White, ed.; Henry Louis Gates, Jr., fwd.



Revisiting New England

University of New Hampshire Press
2007 • 272 pp. 18 illus., 4 appendixes 6 x 9"
African-American Studies / American History

$26.00 Paperback, 978-1-58465-642-5



"Boggis' account is immediately engaging. She writes about how meaningful it was to find out that black people like herself and her sons lived in early Milford."
Valley News

This volume, with a foreword by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., advances efforts to correct the historical record about the racial complexity and richness characteristic of rural New England’s past

In the mid-nineteenth century, Harriet E. Wilson, an enterprising woman of mixed racial heritage, wrote an autobiographical novel describing the abuse and servitude endured by a young black girl in the supposedly free North. Originally published in Boston in 1859 and “lost” until its 1983 republication by noted scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Our Nig; or Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, is generally considered the first work of fiction written by an African American woman published in the United States.

With this collection, the first devoted entirely to Wilson and her novel, the editors have compiled essays that seek to understand Wilson within New England and New England as it might have appeared to Wilson and her contemporaries. The contributors include prominent historians, literary critics, psychologists, librarians, and diversity activists. Harriet Wilson’s New England joins other critical works in the emerging field known as the New Regionalism in resurrecting historically hidden ethnic communities in rural New England and exploring their erasure from public memory. It offers new literary and historical interpretations of Our Nig and responds to renewed interest in Wilson’s dramatic account of servitude and racial discrimination in the North.

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Reviews:

"Harriet Wilson's New England: Race, Writing, and Region, brings the Harriet Wilson story up to date. Events that were only surmised when the first modern volume of "Our Nig" appeared in 1983 have been confirmed, and we see Harriet Wilson as a real person of almost incredible courage and ability, determined to succeed in an age when all the cards seemed stacked against her."
Milford (NH) Cabinet

"[M]ost compelling is Boggis's reflective concluding essay, "Not Somewhere Else, but Here." Boggis (founder and director of the Harriet Wilson Project) rightly reminds the reader that the injustices done to African Americans were not confined to the South; they went largely unchecked in the North as well . . . Recommended." —Choice

"The present collection . . . furthers the importance of Wilson's novel in the African American canon. The essays look at the work in the context of place, genre, and gender . . . Recommended." Choice

Endorsements:

“This is a thought-provoking collection that provides valuable new historical context and advances current scholarly discussions on Wilson and her work and, wonderfully, offers a selection of more personal writings and conversations from people local to Milford and associated with the Harriet Wilson Project. These final essays demonstrate the powerful connections Wilson's contemporary readers make between her story and their lives and sense of culture and history in New Hampshire now.”Dana Nelson, Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English and American Studies, Vanderbilt University

Harriet Wilson's New England provides readers with a wonderful array of essays. Sure to be an indispensable asset for readers of Our Nig, the first novel by an African-American woman published in the United States‚ as well as for those seeking to learn more about black life in antebellum New England.”—Laura Browder, Professor of English, Virginia Commonwealth University



JERRIANNE BOGGIS is Director of the Harriet Wilson Project, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Harriet Wilson and her literary work.

EVE ALLEGRA RAIMON is Associate Professor of Arts and Humanities at the University of Southern Maine and author of The “Tragic Mulatta” Revisited: Race and Nationalism in Nineteenth Century Antislavery Literature (2004).

BARBARA A. WHITE is Professor Emerita of Women’s Studies at the University of New Hampshire and author of The Beecher Sisters (2003).

HENRY LOUIS GATES, JR., is W. E. B. Dubois Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University.






Sun, 5 Oct 2014 14:33:26 -0500