By Tim Armstrong
In American historical past and in the course of the Western global, the subjugation perpetuated by way of slavery has created a special 'culture of slavery'. That tradition exists as a metaphorical, creative and literary culture hooked up to the enslaved – people whose lives are 'owed' to a different, who're used as tools through one other and who needs to suffer pain in silence. Tim Armstrong explores the metaphorical legacy of slavery in American tradition by way of investigating debt, know-how and discomfort in African-American literature and a number different writings and artistic endeavors. Armstrong's cautious research unearths how notions of the slave as a debtor lie hidden in our debts of the commodified self and the way writers like Nathaniel Hawthorne, Rebecca Harding Davis, Booker T. Washington, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ralph Ellison and Toni Morrison grapple with the pervasive view that slaves are similar to machines
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Additional info for The Logic of Slavery: Debt, Technology, and Pain in American Literature
10 In such legislation, the slave’s status is hybrid: determined partly by human status, partly by commercial value, and partly by the disciplinary power in which one was imposed forcibly on the other. As Thomas D. 11 Ideologically, slaves could not be freed from their obligation to labour for others. The template provided by the law is, of course, only part of the picture of slave relations. Reading accounts of slavery, one comes across accounts of arbitrary violence, sadism, and murder on the part of slaveholders, but also of extra-legal punishment of the perpetrators of such violence.
The template provided by the law is, of course, only part of the picture of slave relations. Reading accounts of slavery, one comes across accounts of arbitrary violence, sadism, and murder on the part of slaveholders, but also of extra-legal punishment of the perpetrators of such violence. One reads of anti-manumission laws circumvented in the name of feeling, of slaves who fought and even killed overseers without substantial punishment (because they were too valuable to lose, and the overseer was seen as akin to a man who could not control a horse).
S. Blonde. Here again is ‘fresh meat’: When relieved, but a small part of the body of the last person deceased remained, and this I had cut as usual into slices and spread on the quarter deck; which being noticed by the Lieutenant of the Blonde . . 75 The Lieutenant may have been shocked; his captain may have been more familiar with the scene, as he was Lord Byron, inheritor of the title of the poet who had written of maritime cannibalism so graphically in Don Juan. 76 In both the cannibal feast and the dead body of the slave, what is involved is a materialization of social metaphor, and perhaps also a vision of that which resists exchange – the abject body which cannot be adequately symbolized within society’s vision of what bodies are for.