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The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel$
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Julia Sun-Joo Lee

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195390322

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195390322.001.0001

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The Return of the “Unnative”

The Return of the “Unnative”

North and South

(p.97) 4 The Return of the “Unnative”
The American Slave Narrative and the Victorian Novel

Julia Sun-Joo Lee (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter resituates Gaskell's industrial novel, North and South in transatlantic terms and offers a new, racialized prism through which to view the narrative's conflict between master and man. Metonymically linked to slavery through the maritime trade, the character Frederick Hale is also linked through his narrative's formal contiguity to the American slave narrative. Frederick's plight exposes the complexities of cosmopolitan identity in the nineteenth century, as Britain and her citizens struggled to reconcile national and international allegiances in the face of shifting political and economic interests. In depicting Frederick's divided identity, North and South also anticipates Gaskell's agonized feelings about the American Civil War, a national conflict that places at its center the global problem of slavery.

Keywords:   slavery, cotton, textile, transatlantic, race, North and South, Gaskell, civil war

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