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Blind Memory Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1780-1865

by Marcus Wood

  • ISBN: 9780415926980
  • ISBN10: 041592698X

Blind Memory Visual Representations of Slavery in England and America 1780-1865

by Marcus Wood

  • List Price: $39.95
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Routledge
  • Publish date: 07/01/2000
  • ISBN: 9780415926980
  • ISBN10: 041592698X
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Description: This groundbreaking work provides an invaluable addition to the limited literature now available on the visual images associated with slavery and abolition, integrated into a sophisticated analysis of their meaning and legacy today. Moving deftly between text and image, Marcus Wood examines paintings, woodcuts, diaries, nineteenth century short stories and twentieth century criticism. Though much has been written on the institution of slavery, rarely are the images subject to the sort of close reading applied to written sources. There are grand narratives on large academic canvases, and there are heroic sculptures and friezes, almost always built to commemorate the emancipation moment. The question remains: are they adequate, or even decent, tools for memory? This book tries to find ways of reading images which emerge as ever more contradictory in terms of what they say about white representation of slavery, and what they imply for black and white understanding of this inheritance.

Throughout this important volume, the author underscores two vital themes: one, that visual presentation of slavery in England and American has been utterly dishonest to its subject, and the other a meditation on whether the ruptures of the slave experience-middle passage, bondage, and torture -- can be adequately represented and remembered. As the author writes, "This history is not over, and is evolving. The hope is that the visual representation of slavery will not continue to be unseen, that the disguises we impose on what we look at must be seen beyond."

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