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date: 08 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses various ways to understand the collaborative composition of American slave narratives. Some of these texts have been cowritten; others derive meanings from the relationships of paratextual voices with those of the narrator’s. Citing representative memoirs published both before and after the Civil War by Frederick Douglass, William and Ellen Craft, Mattie Jackson, and Annie Louise Burton, this essay also argues for thinking about the intertextuality of such works, or their dialogic interplay with previous published and oral literary productions, as instances of collaboration. Memoirs and biographies of African Americans that rely on a combination of oral history and written document are the literary legacy of early collaborative American slave narratives.

Keywords: collaboration, coauthorship, partnership, slave narrative, intertextual, paratextual, literacy, community, citizenship

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