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The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano: Written by Himself (1789)

de Olaudah Equiano, Robert J. Allison (Editor), Joanna Brooks (Editor)

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DISCOVER THE INDIGNITIES AND REALITIES OF SLAVERY FROM A CAPTIVATING FIRST-HAND NARRATIVE Olaudah Equiano's interesting narrative is an astonishing first-hand account of kidnapping, enslavement and eventual emancipation that has horrified and enlightened readers for over 200 years. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano is a seminal work in a genre that seeks to help us better shape the present by understanding our violent past. An insightful Introduction from Atlantic slave trade expert Michael Taylor sheds light on Equiano's life, including his spiritual conversion, his wide travels, and the impact of his writing on the eventual abolition of slavery.… (mais)
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Okay... This was brilliant. Equiano (Vassa?) is an utterly fascinating historical figure and man, and his story is thrilling. Sold into slavery as a child, Equiano, by the providence of God, was spared the brutality of North American farm labor and consequential obscurity. Bought by a smattering of high-ranking British captains, Equiano was taught to read, allowed to practice Christianity, and generally live a very free life (not counting some particularly bad owners), eventually buying his freedom and continuing his journey around the world. He charts his adventures traveling the world, the many injustices he must encounter, and the Christianity that was his bedrock. You just feel with him.

There is a lot of heartbreak in this account. How could there not? One thing I will recognize informs my high esteem of this story is the religious tone it uses. Equiano was what we'd call a true believer, and it's one more layer of interesting given the broader imperialism of Christianity. I implore the less religiously inclined to not fault him; I think it is incredibly dehumanizing to question this too much. His Christianity gave him strength, gave him a strong moral compass to battle for the abolition of the slave trade, and allowed him many great connections in a world where being black could be so tenuous. His Christianity was truly beautiful and made me yearn for church once more—Crazy how good, upstanding people can convert, no?

On a side note, the more I read 18th-century writing, the more I really think the period of the 1770s-1790s was the pinnacle of the written English word. The command of language Equiano employs is exquisite and commanding, and really quite arresting when relaying his life. It's a bit similar to how Du Bois' utilizes language a century later—both men show the "mental faculties" so many suppose they can't have on account of their skin.

Anyway, I can't recommend this enough. It's just... amazing. Equiano is a fascinating man caught between two worlds, and while his 18th-century Britishness can raise an eyebrow sometimes, it illustrates the breadth of thought of the period. I just spent an hour on York University's webpage about him, and I can't get enough. Ah! ( )
  Eavans | Nov 29, 2023 |
Olaudah Equiano (?-1707) was kidnapped from his home in Nigeria in 1745, brought to Virginia on a slave ship,
then sold to a British Naval Captain. They sailed to England where Olaudah went to school in London.

Captain then sold him to a Quaker and he bought his freedom.

During his life he was over and over betrayed by his former maste and other white menr as they traveled the ocean and back

He submitted his written Narrative to the Queen.

He worked hard to abolish slavery, describing to all who would listen in England
all that he had witnessed of the
"...tortures, murders, and every other imaginable barbarity..."

(Still not sure why he never learned to swim when he spent so much of his life at sea.) ( )
  m.belljackson | Jun 14, 2022 |
A moving slave narrative, a heartfelt confession of faith, a thought-provoking historical record, and a seafaring adventure story all in one. It gets a little slow at times due to the period language, but it's a thoroughly absorbing read. ( )
  EQReader | Dec 1, 2020 |
Five stars for the historical importance and the first nine chapters, which are gripping. ( )
  le.vert.galant | Jan 26, 2015 |
Wow, this was a fascinating read, and so beautifully, powerfully, and intelligently written. Although I know some doubts have been cast on the veracity of parts of the narrative, Equiano is clearly a remarkable character. ( )
  amydross | Feb 18, 2011 |
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Nome do autorFunçãoTipo de autorObra?Status
Olaudah Equianoautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Allison, Robert J.Editorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
Brooks, JoannaEditorautor principaltodas as ediçõesconfirmado
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DISCOVER THE INDIGNITIES AND REALITIES OF SLAVERY FROM A CAPTIVATING FIRST-HAND NARRATIVE Olaudah Equiano's interesting narrative is an astonishing first-hand account of kidnapping, enslavement and eventual emancipation that has horrified and enlightened readers for over 200 years. The Interesting Narrative of Olaudah Equiano is a seminal work in a genre that seeks to help us better shape the present by understanding our violent past. An insightful Introduction from Atlantic slave trade expert Michael Taylor sheds light on Equiano's life, including his spiritual conversion, his wide travels, and the impact of his writing on the eventual abolition of slavery.

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