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Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl | [Harriet Jacobs]

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, written under the pseudonym Linda Brent, details her experiences as a slave in North Carolina, her escape to freedom in the north, and her ensuing struggles to free her children. The narrative was partly serialized in the New York Tribune, but was discontinued because Jacobs’ depictions of the sexual abuse of female slaves were considered too shocking. It was published in book form in 1861.
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Publisher's Summary

Harriet Jacobs’ autobiography, written under the pseudonym Linda Brent, details her experiences as a slave in North Carolina, her escape to freedom in the north, and her ensuing struggles to free her children. The narrative was partly serialized in the New York Tribune, but was discontinued because Jacobs’ depictions of the sexual abuse of female slaves were considered too shocking. It was published in book form in 1861.

©1861 Public Domain (P)2012 Cherry Hill Publishing

What the Critics Say

"In such volumes as this, the true romance of American life and history is to be found. Patient suffering, heroic daring, untiring zeal, perseverance seemingly unparalleled, and growth from surroundings of degradation and ignorance to education, refinement, and power: all find in these modest pages their simple, yet affecting narrative. It is the "oft told tale" of American slavery, in another and more revolting phase than that which is generally seen. More revolting because it is of the spirit and not the flesh. In this volume, a woman tells in words of fire, yet never overstepping the bounds of the truest purity, not, how she was scourged and maimed, but that far more terrible sufferings endured by and inflicted upon woman, by a system which legalizes concubinage, and offers a premium to licentiousness. No one can read these pages without a feeling of horror, and a stronger determination arising in them to tear down the cursed system which makes such records possible. Wrath, the fiery messenger which goes flaming from the roused soul and overthrows in its divine fury the accursed tyrannies of earth; will find in these pages new fuel for the fire, and new force for the storm which shall overthrow and sweep from existence American slavery." (Weekly Anglo-African, New York, N.Y., 13 April 1861)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (51 )
5 star
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4.4 (41 )
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4.0 (43 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Casey Chicago, IL, United States 08-24-13
    Casey Chicago, IL, United States 08-24-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Awful accent!"
    What disappointed you about Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

    I couldn't bare the performer's accent. She didn't seem to know of she was trying to British or southern.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I have no idea. I am returning this title for another version of the book with a different narrator.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Audio Élan’s performances?

    No


    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shakayla Dade City, FL, United States 03-31-13
    Shakayla Dade City, FL, United States 03-31-13 Member Since 2015
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    "Great book!"
    If you could sum up Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, insightful, disturbing.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

    When the narrator describes the slave woman who is tied up by her thumbs and whipped to death.


    Have you listened to any of Audio Élan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I haven't. I didn't find her narration very interesting. It actually hurt the story rather than helped it. Eventually I finished the audio book but not without a struggle as I found her voice to be very annoying.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The entire book moved me.


    Any additional comments?

    Great read! Wish the narrator was different. But I loved the story nonetheless.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    khershey 02-27-15
    khershey 02-27-15 Member Since 2015
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    "amazing history"

    I found out about this book via a fb post, so I was going to purchase it but found the audible version....it was awesome, as a 30 plus mom, wife, and grad student it spoke to my life as a black woman....phenomenal

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig cruz bay, VI, USA 08-01-15
    Craig cruz bay, VI, USA 08-01-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Great book, bad narration"
    If you could sum up Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl in three words, what would they be?

    Genuine insight slavery


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a genuine, articulate voice from a portion of our past that is not well-documented otherwise.


    How could the performance have been better?

    The performance is a caricature of a southern accent. Very distracting. The reader should have simply read in their own voice, instead of attempting a southern accent. Or better yet, get someone who is familiar with the accent that the author, Harriet Jacobs, would have used. For example, Sissy Spacek's reading of To Kill A Mockingbird was done with a genuine southern accent that fit the story perfectly, and added to its impact.

    The bad accent isn't even consistent. How did the publisher allow her to read it?


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    The book title is fine.


    Any additional comments?

    While the book purports to be the voice of Harriet Jacobs, some passages show the hand of a preachy editor. Though glaring, they are infrequent and do not detract from the story.

    Another way to express this is that when the author writes, she takes ownership of the story. When the editor steps in to "preach", the ownership vanishes.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelsey Rollings 03-29-15

    Currently recieving my undergraduate degree in Construction Science in Texas.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Touching"
    What did you love best about Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl?

    It sheds a new light to what you normally hear about slavery and the turmoils black men and women went through. You learn more of what women dealt with including the life of Harriets.


    What did you like best about this story?

    How much she fought for her children's life and how she was playing the system as best as she could.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Raemone
    London, England
    4/26/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "tear jerking. words cannot describe"

    merely a century. and some ago.unbelievable to think this was how life was expectedly existed

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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