The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride: A Rediscovered African American Novel by Julia C. Collins

Paperback | October 15, 2006

byJulia C. CollinsEditorWilliam L. Andrews, Mitch Kachun

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In 1865, The Christian Recorder, the national newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serialized The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, a novel written by Mrs. Julia C. Collins, an African American woman living in the small town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first novel everpublished by a black American woman, it is set in antebellum Louisiana and Connecticut, and focuses on the lives of a beautiful mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for fulfillment through love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice. The text shares much withpopular nineteenth-century women's fiction, while its dominant themes of interracial romance, hidden African ancestry, and ambiguous racial identity have parallels in the writings of both black and white authors from the period. Begun in the waning months of the Civil War, the novel was near its conclusion when Julia Collins died of tuberculosis in November of 1865. In this first-ever book publication of The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, the editors have composed a hopeful and a tragic ending, reflecting twoalternatives Collins almost certainly would have considered for the closing of her unprecedented novel. In their introduction, the editors offer the most complete and current research on the life and community of an author who left few traces in the historical record, and provide extensivediscussion of her novel's literary and historical significance. Collins's published essays, which provide intriguing glimpses into the mind of this gifted but overlooked writer, are included in what will prove to be the definitive edition of a major new discovery in African American literature. Itspublication contributes immensely to our understanding of black American literature, religion, women's history, community life, and race relations during the era of United States emancipation.

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In 1865, The Christian Recorder, the national newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, serialized The Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, a novel written by Mrs. Julia C. Collins, an African American woman living in the small town of Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The first novel everpublished by a black American woman, it is ...

William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English and Senior Associate Dean for Fine Arts and Humanities at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt and To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Mitch Kachun i...
Format:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 5.51 × 8.19 × 0.79 inPublished:October 15, 2006Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195301609

ISBN - 13:9780195301601

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Table of Contents

Forward by Frances Smith FosterEditors' IntroductionNotes to IntroductionEditorial Note by Anne BruderThe Curse of Caste; or The Slave Bride, 1865Two Alternate Conclusions to The Curse of CasteThe Essays of Julia C. Collins, 1864-1865Reading Group GuideNotesAcknowledgments

Editorial Reviews

"Following the precedent set by Harriet Wilson's Our Nig, Julia Collins' The Curse of Caste is a compelling, imaginative rendering of the intersections of race and class at the close of the Civil War. William Andrews is the leading scholar of 19th century African American literature, and thework of Andrews and Mitch Kachun on The Curse of Caste is a model of judicious and sensitive editing."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University