Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America by Katy L. ChilesTransformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America by Katy L. Chiles

Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early America

byKaty L. Chiles

Hardcover | February 10, 2014

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As surprising as it might seem now, during the late eighteenth century many early Americans asked themselves, "How could a person of one race come to be another?" Racial thought at the close of the eighteenth century differed radically from that of the nineteenth century, when the concept ofrace as a fixed biological category would emerge. Instead, many early Americans thought that race was an exterior bodily trait, incrementally produced by environmental factors and continuously subject to change. While historians have documented aspects of eighteenth-century racial thought, Transformable Race is the first scholarly book that identifies how this thinking informs the figurative language in the literature of this crucial period. It argues that the notion of "transformable race" structured howearly American texts portrayed the formation of racial identities. Examining figures such as Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Franklin, Samson Occom, and Charles Brockden Brown, Transformable Race demonstrates how these authors used language emphasizing or questioning the potential malleability ofphysical features to explore the construction of racial categories.
Katy L. Chiles is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Title:Transformable Race: Surprising Metamorphoses in the Literature of Early AmericaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.25 × 6.12 × 0.98 inPublished:February 10, 2014Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199313504

ISBN - 13:9780199313501


Table of Contents

Introduction: Surprising Metamorphoses1. Becoming Colored in Occom and Wheatley's Early AmericaTo Make Samson Occom "So""To Make a Poet Black"2. The Political Bodies of Benjamin Franklin and Hendrick AupaumutYou Are What You Eat; or, Franklin's Practice Makes (Almost) PerfectHendrick Aupaumut's Own Color3. Transforming into Natives: Crevecoeur, Marrant, and Brown on Becoming IndianPassing As, Transforming intoCrevecoeur's American RaceJohn Marrant Becoming CherokeeEdgar Huntly's Unsettling Transformation4. Doubting Transformable Race: Equiano, Brackenridge, and the Textuality of Natural HistoryTo Quote and to Question: Olaudah Equiano's Provocative EndsBrackenridge and the Limits of Writing Natural HistoryEpilogue: Interiorizing Racial Metamorphosis: The Algerine Captive's Language of SympathyNotes