353 Matching Annotations
  1. May 2018
    1. The use of images in Citizen is meant in part to destabilize the text so both image and text would always have possibilities, both realized and unimagined by me, beyond my curating powers. Consequently, I wanted to create an aesthetic form for myself, where the text was trembling and doubling and wandering in its negotiation and renegotiation of the image, a form where the text’s stated claims and interests would reverberate off the included visuals.

      Lovely quote on the supplementary relationship between image/text.

    2. Plus, it takes forever to get to know someone and, even then, we are often surprised—by ourselves, by each other. Claudia and I have built a friendship through consultation about whether our tones are crazy, wrong, off, or right; about whether or not our observations show something, and what.

      Preamble establishes, from LBs perspective, something like the photographic negative of the negative interactions CR catalogs in her text. I found myself asking, "what does a good friend/colleague look like across the Veil?" and I think this is an attempt to sketch it.

    3. Keep moving even when we’re still. Find stillness when we’re jolted.

      Great description of the critical faculty in general.

    4. The photographer Jeff Wall writes about moving into moments of eroding freedoms. He describes racism as “determined by social totality” that “has to come out of an individual body.”

      Elegant description of what CR is doing by staging the way ideologies of race speak through the "you" in the text.

    5. There’s not a lot of laughter in Citizen. No doubt, that sense motivates your use of the word maneuver—it means, etymologically, “to work with one’s hands,” but it’s usually a way of talking about unsticking something, getting around an impasse or an obstacle course, or dealing with touchy subjects.

      Yes: might push harder on this absence. What does it signify about the role of "wit and the unconscious"?

    1. The image forces things to stop for a moment. It forces the reader to reinvent breathing so that the eyes can again focus.

      Nice reading, since the text often thematizes flow, fast motion, aggressions occuring before the mind has time to process.

    2. They were placed in the text where I thought silence was needed, but I wasn’t interested in making the silence feel empty or effortless the way a blank page would. In your Sex, or the Unbearable, you say the experience of “any non-knowledge is not usually a blockage or limit but is actually the experience of the multiplication of knowledges that have an awkward relation to each other, crowd each other out, and create intensities that require management.”

      Connects with theme in CITIZEN of disrupting everyday interactions with questions, with pauses, with glitching of usual smooth recognition.

  2. Apr 2018
    1. And if Poe were alive, he would not have to invent horror; horror would invent him.

      tragically beautiful last line

    2. From these items I drew my first political conclusions about Bigger: I felt that Bigger, an American product, a native son of this land, carried within him the potentialities of either Communism or Fascism. I don't mean to say that the Negro boy I depicted in Native Son is either a Communist or a Fascist. He is not either. But he is product of a dislocated society; he is a dispossessed and disinherited man; he is all of this, and he lives amid the greatest possible plenty on earth and he is looking and feeling for a way out.

      because he is being pushed out and ushered to the edges?

    3. come into possession of my own feelings

      as physical objects to be re-captured

    4. I'd better indicate more precisely the nature of the environment that produced these men, or the reader will be left with the impression that they were essentially and organically bad.

      Born of their environments. Who is the intended readership, I wonder?

    5. We never recovered our toys unless we flattered him and made him feel that he was superior to us. Then, perhaps, if he felt like it, he condescended, threw them at us and then gave each of us a swift kick in the bargain, just to make us feel his utter contempt.

      Microcosm of hegemonic society?

    6. So, at the outset, I say frankly that there are phases of Native Son which I shall make no attempt to account for. There are meanings in my book of which I was not aware until they literally spilled out upon the paper. I shall sketch the outline of how I consciously came into possession of the materials that went into Native Son, but there will be many things I shall omit, not because I want to, but simply because I don't know them.

      Paradoxically claiming and disowning his words/experiences

    7. It is at once something private and public by its very nature and texture.

      Much like the idea of a "readerly" text

    8. it is an intensely intimate expression on the part of a consciousness couched in terms of the most objective and commonly known events

      Interesting description

  3. Mar 2018
    1. I threw myself into a hammock, from which I could see Julius through an open window. He ate with evident relish, devoting his attention chiefly to the ham, slice after slice of which disappeared in the spacious cavity of his mouth. At first the old man ate rapidly, but after the edge of his appetite had been taken off he proceeded in a more leisurely manner. When he had cut the sixth slice of ham (I kept count of them from a lazy curiosity to see how much he could eat) I saw him lay it on his plate; as he adjusted the knife and fork to cut it into smaller pieces, he paused, as if struck by a sudden thought, and a tear rolled down his rugged cheek and fell upon the slice of ham before him. But the emotion, whatever the thought that caused it, was transitory, and in a moment he continued his dinner. When he was through eating, he came out on the porch, and resumed his seat with the satisfied expression of countenance that usually follows a good dinner.

      John is such a voyeur that this is very interesting.

    2. “The fact is,” she said, pensively, “I couldn’t have eaten any more of that ham, and so I gave it to Julius.”

      Another well-orchestrated, poignant triumph.

    3. En dey sot a heap by one ernudder.

      I have been reading this phrase as "And they sought a heap by one another," which is a really beautiful way of describing two people spending time together.

    4. childish superstitions

      I wonder how and why Western superstitions aren't childish, but non-Western are.

      If it's childish, why are non-Western superstitions still seen to be frightening and dark but not their European counterparts...

      Isn't Annie practicing Western superstitions by her fragile Reconstruction Era spells of hysteria?

    5. “‘Fo’ de Lawd!’ he say, ‘dat mule drunk! he be’n drinkin’ de wine.’ En sho’ ’nuff, de mule had pas’ right by de tub er fraish grape-juice en push’ de kiver off’n de bairl, en drunk two er th’ee gallon er de wine w’at had been stan’in’ long ernough fer ter begin ter git sha’p.

      In his tales, Julius opens up the space for humor and relief in a narrative that is ultimately about inhuman forms of subjugation.

    6. ‘ca’se de beastisses doan none un ’em eat terbacker. Dey doan know w’at ‘s good! Terbacker is lack religion, de good Lawd made it fer people, en dey ain’ no yuther creetur w’at kin ‘preciate it.

      Perhaps this is what separates humans from animals: no animal intentionally inhaled hot smoke.

      In this particular schema, it seems humorous that God presides over his two gifts to humankind: tobacco and religion. Even though tobacco served as a cash crop, it was a source of pleasure that fell within the jurisdiction of the slaves working the fields of it - and Chestnutt seems to be suggesting that religion, to some degree, offered a similar form of relief.

    7. “You en Mis’ Annie would n’ wanter b’lieve me, ef I wuz ter ‘low dat dat man was oncet a mule?” “No,” I replied, “I don’t think it very likely that you could make us believe it.” “Why, Uncle Julius!” said Annie severely, “what ridiculous nonsense!” This reception of the old man’s statement reduced him to silence, and it required some diplomacy on my part to induce him to vouchsafe an explanation. The prospect of a long, dull afternoon was not alluring, and I was glad to have the monotony of Sabbath quiet relieved by a plantation legend.

      This all feels like caricature (and maybe a little bit like Brechtian alienation). In particular, the narrator's mention of "diplomacy" betray him as conscious of a market where his white male body is valid social currency. His and Annie's dramatic (perhaps overblown) negation of Julius' oral account understandably upsets Julius, but it also highlights the clash of two irreconcilable modes of representation. In the face of conflict, the narrator now sets off to do "damage control" and attempt to level with Julius in his rational, professional logic.

    8. might become in his children’s children a glowing flame of sensibility, alive to every thrill of human happiness or human woe

      Echoes/Contrasting with Annie, the white woman sentiments

    9. but with a furtive disapproval which suggested to us a doubt in his own mind as to whether he had a right to think or to feel, and presented to us the curious psychological spectacle of a mind enslaved long after the shackles had been struck off from the limbs of its possessor.

      Moralistic / Mind was shackled as well.

    10. two women-servants


    11. I have reason to believe that ever since I had bought the place, and for many years before, Julius had been getting honey from this tree. The gray wolf’s haunt had doubtless proved useful in keeping off too inquisitive people, who might have interfered with his monopoly.

      Julius using story to get what he desires; language becomes a manipulative tool.

    12. He was not always so,

      Extraordinary moment when John actually considers deeply (for him) what kind of subjectivity Julius possesses. He reads Julius very crudely, but not in ways that elicit comedy: we see here the real gap between a subjectivity organized around white supremacy and the possibility of recognizing blackness in its otherness as part of "America" as Du Bois urges his readers to do.

    13. I went to execute the commission. When I pulled the handkerchief out of her pocket, something else came with it and fell on the floor. I picked up the object and looked at it. It was Julius’s rabbit’s foot.

      Maybe a bit corny, but the story does open enough space to imagine, not "local color" that's fun to dip into, but a more fundamental epistemological fissure, where we're not sure whether Enlightenment rationalism or "premodern" magic is the controlling factor. Allegorically this points to the issue of narrative authority: that Julius might be "master" of the narrative.

    14. “Aun’ Peggy look’ at de head-hankercher, en run her han’ ober it, en sez she:—

      The emphasis on gift exchange--Aunt Peggy never conjures for free--rhymes with the way Julius uses his tales to "buy" himself things from John/Annie, even if the latter don't always realize it.

    15. “Oh, yes,” she answered, “I forgot to tell you. He was hanging round the place all the morning, and looking so down in the mouth, that I told him that if he would try to do better, we would give him one more chance. He seems so grateful, and so really in earnest in his promises of amendment, that I’m sure you’ll not regret taking him back.”

      Annie as "sentimental" reader, once again!

    16. Ef young Mistah McLean doan min’, he’ll hab a bad dream one er dese days, des lack ‘is grandaddy had way back yander, long yeahs befo’ de wah.”

      Look how Julius waits to speak just to make something magical. He gets the narrative going.

    17. But I had hardened my heart.

      Exodus/ slave reference when the Pharaoh doesn't appease the slaves - he "hardens his heart".

      A subtle jab that John is still acting like a slave owner.

    18. John, there has been a split in the Sandy Run Colored Baptist Church, on the temperance question.

      Julius is purposely "haunting" everything these two want. That gives "Magical Negro" a whole new meaning when Julius can control their supplies and movements by mystifying things.

    19. “I hope you didn’t let the old rascal have it,” I returned, with some warmth. I had just received a bill for the new lumber I had bought.

      What do you make of this recurrent twist? Is Julius just a hustler, or is there a game behind the game? How might readers have responded to these twists around 1900?

    20. W’en Mars Marrabo ‘skiver’ dat Sandy wuz gone, he ‘lowed Sandy had runned away

      Not to beat a dead horse, but note that selling slaves, breaking up families, and fugitive slaves are not staples of the tradition CC is writing in, to say the least!

    21. your people will never rise in the world until they throw off these childish superstitions

      Echoes of how enslaved peoples were infantilized.

    22. our colored coachman

      Important shift to "our" Julius. Also note that he has a job title!

    23. She became the victim of a settled melancholy, attended with vague forebodings of impending misfortune.

      Emma Bovary-esque

  4. Feb 2018
    1. I decided to tear down the old schoolhouse

      This seems like it might produce some spooky consequences.

    2. “Dey did ‘pear ter die, but a few un ’em come out ag’in, en is mixed in ‘mongs’ de yuthers. I ain’ skeered ter eat de grapes, ‘caze I knows de old vimes fum de noo ones; but wid strangers dey ain’ no tellin’ w’at mought happen. I would n’ ‘vise yer ter buy dis vimya’d.” I bought the vineyard, nevertheless, and it has been for a long time in a thriving condition, and is often referred to by the local press as a striking illustration of the opportunities open to Northern capital in the development of Southern industries.

      The sharp contrast in the two idioms here also underscores the tension between a belief in Black oral history and the embrace of the supernatural, versus the self-assured, scientific-economic speech of the white Northern capitalist narrator.

    3. He was not entirely black, and this fact, together with the quality of his hair, which was about six inches long and very bushy, except on the top of his head, where he was quite bald, suggested a slight strain of other than negro blood. There was a shrewdness in his eyes, too, which was not altogether African, and which, as we afterwards learned from experience, was indicative of a corresponding shrewdness in his character.

      In this description, the narrator reveals a persistent prejudice to anti-Blackness as he repeatedly endeavors to characterize the stranger by observations of traits that are "not altogether African."

    4. jimson-weeds and briers

      The jimson-weed is a foul-smelling variety of nightshade with toxic and hallucinogenic properties, and briers are squat shrubbery with thorny branches. The mentions of these plants, beyond strict description, seem to have a figurative quality.

    5. somnolent

      This description of the town as sleepy, and the description of its restful, "sabbatic" calm definitively give the sense that it also harbors deeply sinister things under its surface.

    6. which I shall call Patesville, because, for one reason, that is not its name

      Why is the name of this town being withheld?

    7. But somehow er ‘nudder de niggers foun’ out all erbout it, en dey all knowed de kitchen wuz ha’nted by Sandy’s sperrit. En bimeby hit got so Mars Marrabo’s wife herse’f wuz skeered ter go out in de yard atter dark.

      Sandy's spirit, which no one has seen, hasn't done anything, yet everyone is afraid of it.

    8. The pathetic intonation with which he lengthened out the “po’ Sandy” touched a responsive chord in our own hearts.

      There is a difference when speaking the English language.

    9. Some of these stories are quaintly humorous; others wildly extravagant, revealing the Oriental cast of the negro’s imagination; while others, poured freely into the sympathetic ear of a Northern-bred woman, disclose many a tragic incident of the darker side of slavery.

      Chessnutt seems to be using Gothic elements

    10. “That story does not appeal to me, Uncle Julius, and is not up to your usual mark. It isn’t pathetic, it has no moral that I can discover, and I can’t see why you should tell it. In fact, it seems to me like nonsense.”

      Everything has to be done to please the white hegemony, despite the fact that slavery was "over"

    11. “Fac’ is,” continued the old man, in a serious tone, “I doan lack ter dribe a mule. I ‘s alluz afeared I mought be imposin’ on some human creetur; eve’y time I cuts a mule wid a hick’ry, ‘pears ter me mos’ lackly I’s cuttin’ some er my own relations, er somebody e’se w’at can’t he’p deyse’ves.”

      This is heartbreaking, and mirrors the way that a lot of enslaved peoples were treated/viewed as animals

    12. impossible career of the blonde heroine of a rudimentary novel.

      Distaste for both women and people of color?

    13. Yes, Julius,” said I, “that was powerful goopher. I am glad, too, that you told us the moral of the story; it might have escaped us otherwise. By the way, did you make that up all by yourself?”

      what a jerk

    14. “And they all lived happy ever after,” I said, as the old man reached a full stop. “Yas, suh,”

      The irony

    15. roots

      roots = magic, as seen in previous works

    16. ‘lowance fer nachul bawn laz’ness, ner sickness, ner trouble in de min’, ner nuffin; he wuz des gwine ter git so much wuk outer eve’y han’, er know de reason w’y.

      racist stereotypes from the production/usefulness mindset

    17. said he wuz n’ raisin’ niggers, but wuz raisin’ cotton.

      Humans equated to their usefulness and production. Marx would have a field day with this.

    18. monst’us

      I wonder if the term 'monstrous' is used in another texts as well.

    19. “I’m sure he ought to be,” exclaimed my wife indignantly. “I think there is no worse sin and no more disgraceful thing than cruelty.” “I quite agree with you,” I assented.

      Oh, the irony.

    20. We found him useful in many ways and entertaining in others, and my wife and I took quite a fancy to him.


    21. unable to break off entirely the mental habits of a lifetime, but had attached himself to the old plantation, of which he seemed to consider himself an appurtenance.

      Object to object, so to speak. Something to be "cultivated"

    22. He was a marvelous hand in the management of horses and dogs, with whose mental processes he manifested a greater familiarity than mere use would seem to account for, though it was doubtless due to the simplicity of a life that had kept him close to nature.

      Very condescending, and the implication of Julius being more animalistic has not gone unnoticed.

    23. useful

      Would be interesting to see how often this word pops up.

    24. “What a system it was,” she exclaimed, when Julius had finished, “under which such things were possible!”


    25. would turn herse’f en Sandy ter foxes, er sump’n, so dey could run away en go some’rs whar dey could be free en lib lack w’ite folks.

      freedom = white

    26. Sandy wuz turnt back he had a little roun’ hole in his arm, des lack a sharp stick be’n stuck in it.

      As a 'human' he sustained the wounds he did as an object.

    27. I wisht I wuz a tree, er a stump, er a rock, er sump’n w’at could stay on de plantation fer a w’ile.’

      Objectification // plantation becoming home

    28. en ‘lowed he wuz monst’us sorry fer ter break up de fambly, but de spekilater had gin ‘im big boot, en times wuz hard en money skase, en so he wuz bleedst ter make de trade. Sandy tuk on some ’bout losin’ his wife, but he soon seed dey want no use cryin’ ober spilt merlasses; en bein’ ez he lacked de looks er de noo ‘oman, he tuk up wid her atter she’d be’n on de plantation a mont’ er so.

      The objectification and speculation of human bodies inherently lends itself to treating humans like trade and chattel

    29. monst’us good nigger, en could do so many things erbout a plantation

      Goodness and value tied to usefulness?

    30. poured freely into the sympathetic ear of a Northern-bred woman,

      Who chooses to do nothing about it?

    31. the Oriental cast of the negro’s imagination

      The exoticism / fetishizing of race is made doubly apparent here.

    32. who takes a deep interest in the stories of plantation life which she hears from the lips of the older colored people

      Sounds vaguely condescending.

    33. lugubrious

      Looking or sounding sad or dismal.

    34. We remained seated in the carriage, a few rods from the mill, and watched the leisurely movements of the mill-hands.

      So separate and above the cacophony; watching others work with a degree of separation. Those who work there are no longer people, but reduced to the duties that they perform. "Mill-hands." The body is once again divided and used.

    35. occult

      Interesting choice of words.

      • supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena.
    36. Its weatherbeaten sides revealed a virgin innocence of paint.

      This echoes the body as home//a house//property theme that we have seen in the past.

    37. “W’en Tenie see so many things

      The perspective has changed from being primarily of Sandy to primarily of Tenie

    38. ‘I kin turn you ter a tree

      The tree becomes lumber, the lumber is still destroyed by an apparatus and put to work

    39. huge pine log was placed in position, the machinery of the mill was set in motion, and the circular saw began to eat its way through the log, with a loud whir which resounded throughout the vicinity of the mill. The sound rose and fell in a sort of rhythmic cadence, which, heard from where we sat, was not unpleasing, and not loud enough to prevent conversation

      Evokes Kafka's apparatus, comfort in machines, technology as an organic element/participant in their discourse

    40. lumber

      The word lumber has been used a significant number of times in the first few paragraphs, perhaps meant to signify a reference to American idea of 'building" things (literally and symbolically) and the idea of resourcefulness.

    41. I found, when I bought the vineyard, that Uncle Julius had occupied a cabin on the place for many years, and derived a respectable revenue from the product of the neglected grapevines. This, doubtless, accounted for his advice to me not to buy the vineyard, though whether it inspired the goopher story I am unable to state. I believe, however, that the wages I paid him for his services as coachman, for I gave him employment in that capacity, were more than an equivalent for anything he lost by the sale of the vineyard.

      Comedy of manners here, as the Yankee demystification of the "conjure" comes along with an engagement in the trickery that's such a big part of the story. As in the dominant plantation tradition, note of compromise between North/South (here, master/slave) that sutures together the historical wound of the War.

    42. “Nex’ spring, w’en de sap ris en Henry’s ha’r commence’ ter sprout, Mars Dugal’ sole ‘im ag’in, down in Robeson County dis time; en he kep’ dat sellin’ business up fer five year er mo’. Henry nebber say nuffin ’bout de goopher ter his noo marsters, ‘caze he know he gwine ter be tuk good keer uv de nex’ winter, w’en Mars Dugal’ buy him back. En Mars Dugal’ made ’nuff money off’n Henry ter buy anudder plantation ober on Beaver Crick.

      Complex set of interactions here: (super)natural role of the grapes/goopher, which align Henry with natural cycles; exploitation of abstract labor-power of capitalism (Henry is like a "cyclical" stock that rises/falls relatively predictably); question of how both master/slave are gaming the system for advantage, though obviously in asymmetrical ways.

    43. “Now it happen dat one er de niggers on de nex’ plantation, one er ole Mars Henry Brayboy’s niggers, had runned away de day befo’, en tuk ter de swamp, en ole Mars Dugal’ en some er de yuther nabor w’ite folks had gone out wid dere guns en dere dogs fer ter he’p ’em hunt fer de nigger; en de han’s on our own plantation wuz all so flusterated

      To put it mildly, references to fugitive slaves are unusual in the "moonlight and magnolias" tradition of "plantation fiction" that CC is writing into.

    44. Mars Dugal’ foun’ he had made fifteen hund’ed gallon er wine; en one er de niggers hearn him laffin’ wid de oberseah fit ter kill, en sayin’ dem fifteen hund’ed gallon er wine wuz monst’us good intrus’ on de ten dollars he laid out on de vimya’d.

      Note how Julius inserts a bit of "Yankee" calculation of ROI here, calibrated to appeal to the narrator.

    45. “Now, ef dey’s an’thing a nigger lub, nex’ ter ‘possum, en chick’n, en watermillyums, it’s scuppernon’s. Dey ain’ nuffin dat kin stan’ up side’n de scuppernon’ fer sweetness; sugar ain’t a suckumstance ter scuppernon’. W’en de season is nigh ’bout ober, en de grapes begin ter swivel up des a little wid de wrinkles er ole age,—w’en de skin git sof’ en brown,—den de scuppernon’ make you smack yo’ lip en roll yo’ eye en wush fer mo’; so I reckon it ain’ very ‘stonishin’ dat niggers lub scuppernon’.

      Julius/CC laying it on pretty thick here, eh? Hard to believe that reviewers criticized CC (as Sussman points out) for being a mere transcriber of reality!

    46. the darker side of slavery

      What is the lighter side of slavery?

    47. As he became more and more absorbed in the narrative, his eyes assumed a dreamy expression, and he seemed to lose sight of his auditors, and to be living over again in monologue his life on the old plantation.

      How are the temporalities of the "Yankee" auditors and the Southern teller different? Is there daylight between how the narrator interprets this difference and how we readers do? What does it mean that the narrator feels that Julius "lose(s) sight" of himself and his wife?

    48. “Lawd bless you, suh, I knows all about it. Dey ain’ na’er a man in dis settlement w’at won’ tell you ole Julius McAdoo ‘uz bawn en raise’ on dis yer same plantation. Is you de Norv’n gemman w’at’s gwine ter buy de ole vimya’d?”

      We'll talk a lot about the issue of the synthetic dialect via Sussman's work and ideas about "stenography" in the 19thC--that is, translating oral discourse "directly" into written form, as it were--but for now, note the strangeness of an African American writer employing this minstrel-tinged practice.

    49. He resumed his seat with somewhat of embarrassment. While he had been standing, I had observed that he was a tall man, and, though slightly bowed by the weight of years, apparently quite vigorous. He was not entirely black, and this fact, together with the quality of his hair, which was about six inches long and very bushy, except on the top of his head, where he was quite bald, suggested a slight strain of other than negro blood. There was a shrewdness in his eyes, too, which was not altogether African, and which, as we afterwards learned from experience, was indicative of a corresponding shrewdness in his character. He went on eating the grapes, but did not seem to enjoy himself quite so well as he had apparently done before he became aware of our presence.

      Who is Julius? What is the narrator's assessment? How might we revise this assessment, by the time we've read more deeply into the collection?

    50. “Don’t let us disturb you,” I said. “There is plenty of room for us all.”

      A resonant line: how does this gesture frame the entire narrative?

    51. We drove between a pair of decayed gateposts—the gate itself had long since disappeared—and up a straight sandy lane, between two lines of rotting rail fence, partly concealed by jimson-weeds and briers, to the open space where a dwelling-house had once stood, evidently a spacious mansion, if we might judge from the ruined chimneys that were still standing, and the brick pillars on which the sills rested. The house itself, we had been informed, had fallen a victim to the fortunes of war.

      How is the recent past "written" on the landscape, and how does the narrator "read" this text?

    52. though I learned later on that underneath its somnolent exterior the deeper currents of life—love and hatred, joy and despair, ambition and avarice, faith and friendship—flowed not less steadily than in livelier latitudes.

      Note that the year of publication--1899--comes some 20 years after the collapse of Reconstruction. In the interim: the Jim Crow system has been built, brick by brick, with Southern states creating new constitutions designed to (among other things) disfranchise African Americans; lynching has emerged as a form of extralegal discipline (roughly 1k/year in this time period, nationwide); and Plessy v Ferguson instantiates "separate but equal" in 1897, two years prior. So it's very much a matter of perspective that "things have become somewhat settled" in the South...

    53. I was engaged at the time in grape-culture in northern Ohio, and, as I liked the business and had given it much study, I decided to look for some other locality suitable for carrying it on.

      Who is the narrator? What "lenses" does he use to view the world around him? What is his frame of reference?

    1. “If something is too mimetic, can it be art?”

      Or are the truest imitations art?

    2. “It seems almost as if we might as well give up, one time as well as another, the effort to make certain people understand that fiction is not ‘just telling things.’ So many well-intentioned people persist in making themselves ridiculous by their futile attempts to make fact into fiction”

      All writing is "just telling things' ; it just so happens that this particular reviewer didn't like the way Chestnutt was telling it.

    3. epistemic legerdemain subtend the aura of simplistic straight talk implied by the use of dialect. As

      language used as a tool of deception, perceived by John because he would undoubtedly have been "utilized" such language in the past to obfuscate the truth

    4. only “parroting” what they had heard suggested that while blacks could use knowledge, only whites could truly possess it

      Douglass and his copying for the bible

    5. whether or not imitativeness was an epistemic quality rooted in race.

      vs. originality

    6. writing fiction, his income largely came first as a freelance legal stenographer and then as the owner of his own successful stenography practice

      His existence is thus seeped completely in writing and inscription!

    7. The manufactured authenticity of his dialect writing suggests that, while it may be informed by the same ear for speech that made him a successful stenographer, it did not conform to any original speech act; while there may be no speaking subject whose voice Chesnutt “transcribes” in his fiction, he nevertheless captures and encodes an image of American Blackness that he did not possess but could represent to white audiences who thought it authentic.

      Yeah: a painstaking imitation of an imitation (or really synthesis).

    8. English pronounced as an ignorant old Southern Negro would be supposed to speak it, and at the same time to preserve a sufficient approximation to the correct spelling to make it easy reading. (“ To ” 105)

      Sophisticated claim by CC about the accomodation of the "phonographic" speech to the norms of written language and the frame of reference of the reading public

    9. All writing, but especially one fraught with the political necessity of fidelity to experience that Chesnutt saw in realism, is always already stenographic in nature. 11

      The footnote points to Derrida on "Freud's mystic writing pad": useful point of reference in linking technologies to "deep," "inner" processes.

    10. In other words, Kealing worries that the demands of the market are turning students into mere writing machines and leaving them without the “basal culture” that will allow them to understand and interpret what they type—they will become a generation of amanuenses, vessels for knowledge and culture without the tools to recognize the richness of the language and history passing through their fingertips and unable to recognize error when they encounter it.

      Ahh: structural determinants in ed system of the "natural" mimicry and lack of imagination of blacks

    11. If what makes a good realist is a facility for mimetic representation—that is, imitation—what makes a “bad” or at least minor realist is a facility for mimicking the facility for mimetic representation. The former mimesis takes place as a kind of translation of the world into the linguistic codes of realistic representation while the latter is portrayed as a knowledge of only linguistic codes. 9

      Pithy restatement of above point.

    12. What seems bizarre about Simmons’s analysis, although also correct, is that Chesnutt is damned to the status of imitator both by those who want to include him in the realist camp and those who do not.

      Wow: CC is read only as successful or unsuccessful imitator of "real" realists by critics such as McElrath or Simmons.

    13. I am not arguing that The Conjure Woman stories are “more realist” than they are usually given credit for but that the orthographic fidelity they simulate locates the “real” of the literary text in a material register (grammar, spelling, and syntax) rather than the conceptual register (the assumed relation of a fictional narrative to the reality it purports to reproduce).

      Displacement of "real"/"realism" from theme to form, to the phonographic representation of black speech.

    14. The rejection of “Rena Walden” may have suggested to Chesnutt that an editor such as Gilder, who was sympathetic to realist literature, was not so interested in the phrase and carriage of everyday life if the days and lives described bore no relation to his or his readers’ own.

      Important point that perhaps doesn't come through strongly enough: that realism depends upon a bourgeois POV, that its readers construct its reality as much as its authors.

    15. The very ways in which we find Chesnutt, in his day and ours, excluded from the realist canon suggests that the limits of the genre have more to do with the relationship between racial politics and epistemic difference than they do with the mimetic fidelity of descriptive language

      Ahh: provocative point that we still use the logic of racial mimicry to construct literary realism on some level.

    16. The reader is left to infer that an essentially “imitative” people in a cultural arrangement that actually encourages the dangerous imitation of unsuitably civilized morals and norms is in a tough spot indeed. 6

      This basic claim that imitativeness, the dangerous supplement that threatens originality, is itself original/natural to blacks, is kind of hilarious.

    17. Consequently, Jim Crow became not only a legal regime but a mode of thinking that haunted the postbellum nineteenth century’s imagination, one that persists to this day

      Broader claim: Jim Crow as "mode of thinking" rather than mere legal structure. But is this so surprising? Don't all legal regimes depend on "modes of thinking" to endure?

    18. Distinctions between mimesis, realism, and imitation may at first seem too fine to merit consideration, but their very ability to substitute for each other occasioned not exactly definitional confusion between them but the terms of access through which the logic of racial politics could come to resemble those of literary politics, through which the Howellsian trope of fidelity could also become a prized form of technological functionality.

      Keywords for Ss analysis: mimesis, realism, imitation. Cognate but subtly different terms in contrast.

    19. Yet the suggestion that, through the manipulation of orthographic convention or a narrative verisimilitude inspired by Chesnutt’s own experiences with the color line, fiction might hew too close to transcription automatically ejects the work from the aesthetic realm and into that of reportage, from art to “just telling things.”

      Fascinating that dialect fiction was critiqued along the same lines as documentary art!

    20. His exploitation of the “transcribed” feeling of dialect writing, the sense that it was drawn from a present and actually experienced scene of speaking, suggests that subversive political energies lay dormant in instrumentally transcriptive writing practices such as stenography.

      Tricky pivot to argue that dialect and steno are parallel processes, and that the written "copy" of speech contains a latent subversiveness.

    21. “The Goophered Grapevine” suggests, both in the linguistic codes and the plot elements it deploys, that misdirection, subterfuge, and epistemic legerdemain subtend the aura of simplistic straight talk implied by the use of dialect.

      So dialect is not a deficit--a failed attempt to speak "correctly"--but a skillful manipulation of linguistic codes to write one's ticket, as it were.

    22. Dialect fiction, an ostensibly mimetic writing form that portrays human speech as the locus of racial authenticity, ironically materializes and substantializes what Chesnutt elsewhere strove to demonstrate was insubstantial. For Chesnutt, then, writing was the sole arena in which the paradoxes of race thinking could take shape; to write race was, in some sense, and perhaps only for Chesnutt, to literally bring race into being.

      Nice move: S points out the proto-Butlerian judo move CC pulls on race discourse in C19. Racists say that to be black is to mimic, copy, reiterate; CC replies that all race is a fiction enacted by performative repetition and proves it via his fiction, which thematizes "phonography" as writing down speech.

    23. The connection of writing to stenography and stenography to writing, far from being limited to the singular professional development of Chesnutt (the first major black American novelist), reflects some of the shared anxieties and contradictions of the racial and literary imaginations of the nineteenth century. Stenography, as a writing system that claims to record and preserve the inflections of human speech, and literary realism, a form of writing that claims to register the vicissitudes of human experience, both participate in a form of mimesis that was, by the end of the nineteenth century, the primary site of critical discord surrounding American fiction.

      Thesis, one that plugs into Gittleman's argument about the Edison era. Note the fact that CC supported self via a) freelance steno; b) fiction writing; and c) own steno business (following Gittelman, seems like steno was a means of building a multivalent business platform in C19).

    1. choke, for heavenly union.

      violent double entendre

    2. the memorable Darg case
    3. He would read his hymn, and nod at me to commence. I would at times do so; at others, I would not. My non-compliance would almost always produce much confusion. To show himself independent of me, he would start and stagger through with his hymn in the most discordant manner.

      FD finds a method of revolt in humiliating Mr. Covey in his religious procedures.

    4. t neither made him to be humane to his slaves, nor to emancipate them. If it had any effect on his character, it made him more cruel and hateful in all his ways; for I believe him to have been a much worse man after his conversion than before. Prior to his conversion, he relied upon his own depravity to shield and sustain him in his savage barbarity; but after his conversion, he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made the greatest pretensions to piety. His house was the house of prayer. He prayed morning, noon, and night.

      Rings familiar to this day, particularly with many of the voices in American politics right now.

    5. when the beginning and ending of human existence meet, and helpless infancy and painful old age combine together

      heart-wrenching comment on how the arc of a human's life bends back in on itself

    6. having outlived my old master and all his children, having seen the beginning and end of all of them, and her present owners finding she was of but little value, her frame already racked with the pains of old age, and complete helplessness fast stealing over her once active limbs, they took her to the woods, built her a little hut, put up a little mud-chimney, and then made her welcome to the privilege of supporting herself there in perfect loneliness;

      A really filmic bit of language, almost like watching a movie reel roll in fast motion and sputter out when it reaches its end.

    7. he fruit of abolition.

      This phrase and the use of italics imply that this phrase is new and not fully understood by Douglass. The italics seem like an oratory cue to a specific vocal inflection.

    8. died away for want of utterance

      The difficulty of not being able to "get it out."

    9. She finally became even more violent in her opposition than her husband himself. She was not satisfied with simply doing as well as he had commanded; she seemed anxious to do better.

      The virulent reality of slave ownership and accompanying violence also play out in the marital realm.

    10. I must hold on to that, to preserve a sense of my identity

      A stark contrast to enslaved peoples who were stripped of all senses of identity and individuality.

    11. For of all slaveholders with whom I have ever met, religious slaveholders are the worst.

      So ironic

    12. The days between Christmas and New Year’s day are allowed as holidays; and, accordingly, we were not required to perform any labor, more than to feed and take care of the stock

      This is the first time I've ever heard about this "break".

    13. That reputation was at stake; and had he sent me—a boy about sixteen years old—to the public whipping-post, his reputation would have been lost; so, to save his reputation, he suffered me to go unpunished.

      Again, slaveholders only did certain things to uphold their image amongst their peers. Often times, their reputation was the most important thing.

    14. career as a slave

      The use of the word career here bothers me. When I think of one's career I think of their calling. It is usually something they enjoy, where there's room for growth an advancement. While it bothers me, it also makes sense that he uses it because most people spent their entire lives as slaves. Slavery was literally their lifetime career.

    15. Here was a recently-converted man, holding on upon the mother, and at the same time turning out her helpless child, to starve and die!

      They didn't see the hypocrisy because they didn't view the enslaved as actual people.

    16. he would quote this passage of Scripture—”He that knoweth his master’s will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.”

      Slaveholders often conveniently used the Bible to justify slavery

    17. and of all men, adopted slaveholders are the worst

      Slaveholder version of the Napoleon complex? They feel the need to prove themselves because they are not authentic in terms of their peers

    18. A single word from the white men was enough—against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties—to sunder forever the dearest friends, dearest kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings.

      To the slave masters and traders, they were not human beings but merely property. Family ties and bonds don't matter when you aren't even seen as being human.

    19. The whole six months afterwards, that I spent with Mr. Covey, he never laid the weight of his finger upon me in anger. He would occasionally say, he didn’t want to get hold of me again. “No,” thought I, “you need not; for you will come off worse than you did before.”

      At the end, it seems like Mr. Covey was the one to break and not Douglass.

    20. I was now, for the first time in my life, a field hand. In my new employment, I found myself even more awkward than a country boy appeared to be in a large city. I had been at my new home but one week before Mr. Covey gave me a very severe whipping, cutting my back, causing the blood to run, and raising ridges on my flesh as large as my little finger.

      After observing slaves being whipped, he is now being whipped, and marked.

    21. power of truth

      Truth being the primary tool against the deception used by slaveholders to control enslaved peoples.

    22. exact copy:—

      Almost to the end of the narrative, Douglass still needs to affirm his existence with paperwork and supportive information. We never have to verify the existence and authenticity of non-colored writers in this way. But imagine if we did? I think there is a very interesting conversation on how blackness has to validate itself but whiteness can go on and create untruths about blackness (at this time think Edward Long, modern day - think James Frey or Margaret Seltzer)

    23. I seldom had much to say at the meetings, because what I wanted to say was said so much better by others.

      Funny, considering he became a master orator.

    24. I must leave unexplained, for the reasons before mentioned.

      By writing his own narrative and controlling his story, he is thus able to remove and exclude parts of his tale as he sees fit.

    25. till I became my own master.

      Master-Slave dialectic but completely in control of himself. This is a good tie in to the "You have seen how a man has been made a slave..." quote. I think it's important how Douglass enjoys dialectic arguments and the relationships of words that can be taken different ways based on the context of the speaker.

    26. I have never approved of the very public manner in which some of our western friends have conducted what they call the underground railroad, but which I think, by their open declarations, has been made most emphatically the upper-ground railroad.

      The publicizing of something innately private and secret for the sake of what? Their own ego? The prestige of supporting abolitionism?

    27. Their reason for this, as alleged, was, that if free colored carpenters were encouraged, they would soon take the trade into their own hands, and poor white men would be thrown out of employment.

      This echoes the fear that enslaved peoples will overturn the hegemony and enslave white people.

    28. root

      Is this "Negro mysticism"? Is Frederick Douglass making fun of us?

    29. They came because they wished to learn. Their minds had been starved by their cruel masters. They had been shut up in mental darkness.

      The need to learn/reason being the condition for humanity.

    30. You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.

      My FAVORITE Douglass quote of all time. The power to push back on the physical and mental violence endured on him made him a man.

      Notice how he makes it clear that his manhood was taken from him as a slave, but it is reverse-able as the Douglass learns to manipulate the sign that warps his identity.

    31. So, when the holidays ended, we staggered up from the filth of our wallowing, took a long breath, and marched to the field,—feeling, upon the whole, rather glad to go, from what our master had deceived us into a belief was freedom, back to the arms of slavery.

      Depression and hypocrisy once again tools to reinforce the institution of slavery.

    32. The truth was, that he had not whipped me at all.

      The altering of truth to preserve the ego.

    33. O, why was I born a man, of whom to make a brute!

      The direct comparison of enslaved peoples to animals once again.

    34. breeder

      Like an animal.

    35. He seemed to think himself equal to deceiving the Almighty.

      Pointing out the hypocrisy of religion.

    36. He was under every tree, behind every stump, in every bush, and at every window, on the plantation.

      The traumatic stress of constantly being watched, being inscribed upon by a master's gaze.

    37. When we were at work in the cornfield, he would sometimes crawl on his hands and knees to avoid detection, and all at once he would rise nearly in our midst, and scream out,

      The joy of cruelty.

    38. breaking young slaves

      This "breaking" of young slaves, right after the mention of horses has to be intentional. Is this gross comparison of humans to horses, to animals, supposed to make the breaking of a person's will more palatable?

    39. he found religious sanction and support for his slaveholding cruelty. He made the greatest pretensions to piety. His house was the house of prayer. He prayed morning, noon, and night. He very soon distinguished himself among his brethren, and was soon made a class-leader and exhorter.

      The hypocrisy of religion and religious texts used to excuse and support the antithesis of its many teachings are thus made clear.

    40. The rule is, no matter how coarse the food, only let there be enough of it.

      The word 'coarse' appears here again, synonymous to slavery and enslavement.

    41. She stands—she sits—she staggers—she falls—she groans—she dies—and there are none of her children or grandchildren present, to wipe from her wrinkled brow the cold sweat of death, or to place beneath the sod her fallen remains

      The deliberate irony here between the grandmother's death and her former master's is tragic.

    42. she had peopled his plantation with slaves;

      bodies and people are thus equated to property

    43. Not a slave was left free. All remained slaves, from the youngest to the oldest.

      and all remained property

    44. I had known what it was to be kindly treated; they had known nothing of the kind.

      The notion that kindness can "spoil" or cause more damage than cruelty is striking.

    45. A single word from the white men was enough—against all our wishes, prayers, and entreaties—to sunder forever the dearest friends, dearest kindred, and strongest ties known to human beings.

      A single uttered word vs. a muted silence

    46. we had no more voice in that decision than the brutes among whom we were ranked.

      Lack of control over their own narrative

    47. I, however, remembered the place very well. I was only about five years old when I left it, to go and live with my old master on Colonel Lloyd’s plantation; so that I was now between ten and eleven years old.

      age based entirely upon the 'master'

    48. I then had to regret that I did not at least make the attempt to carry out my resolution to run away; for the chances of success are tenfold greater from the city than from the country.

      The blame upon the self.

    49. Their joy at my return equalled their sorrow at my departure.

      Douglass is "valued" in Baltimored

    50. I had known what it was to be kindly treated; they had known nothing of the kind. They had seen little or nothing of the world. They were in very deed men and women of sorrow, and acquainted with grief. Their backs had been made familiar with the bloody lash, so that they had become callous; mine was yet tender;

      The other slaves have physical marks in their backs of their experience as slaves, their experience or story is told through their callous back. Douglass back is tender which would indicate that he can see the sorrow and grief of his fellow-slaves but he hasn't experience it like they have and his tender back tells a different story. Also, he is able to tell his experience or story in this narrative.

    51. took my little brother by the throat, threw him on the ground, and with the heel of his boot stamped upon his head till the blood gushed from his nose and ears—was well calculated to make me anxious as to my fate. After he had committed this savage outrage upon my brother

      The savagery of a slave holder. Also, he is seeing the savage act happening.

    52. the brutalizing effects of slavery upon both slave and slaveholder

      It is interesting that he notes that slavery has brutalizing effects on the slaveholder as well.

    1. if something an African American wrote in the mid-19th century didn’t get published at the time, it had much less chance of being preserved

      Interesting to think about how digital platforms are changing the preservation of work that is not published through traditional means. New platforms and means of inscription mean new reservoirs of history.

    2. The substitution of “told” for “took” is less intuitive than “buy” for “by,” and therefore harder to explain but also more intriguing. She used “told” correctly just a few words earlier and, starting to write “t-o” again, perhaps half-consciously repeated the motions she had just made. It makes me think that she is straining a bit at this point in the letter, or is feeling more deeply her fear and anxiety and becoming a little less focused on an act of writing that must have been challenging and affecting.One whip-smart colleague who read a draft of that chapter looked at that line and said, Maybe she really did mean told — but was trying to write tolled, the past tense of a now-archaic verb meaning to lure or trick into going someplace. It was entirely plausible that Perkins’s owner might have taken her to a slave auction on false pretenses.

      Interesting example of the faults and ambiguity linked tot the physical act of inscription

    3. that’s not literature

      To say this would be to uphold the elitist literary tradition that continues to delegitimize marginalized voices

    4. fairly widespread awareness among black southerners that you could make ink out of walnut bark — which in turn tells me black southerners were talking to each other about how to make ink.

      When writing is contraband, there cannot be plethora of physical, written records. This communal knowledge of how one makes ink is able to fill in the gaps by indicating an underground inscriptive tradition, and thus represent a history that had no means of being permanently recorded. It disrupts the Hegel-ian principle that without writing there is no history.

    5. When I was a sophomoric graduate student, I made a decision not to focus on African American literature, even though I wanted to, because there was (and is) a dearth of scholars of color in the academy. As I matured somewhat, I realized this was flawed thinking: my not writing about African American subjects wasn’t going to increase the number of black PhDs.

      This is an interesting perspective that is articulated often and brings to mind other white academics who have concentrated their work on race—Jane Elliot, TIm Wise, and others. It presents an interesting ethical question of who has the power to discuss blackness. Can educated, well meaning white people organically be part of the conversation without infringing, or diminishing the agency of the Black people who experience it first hand? Is there a line to tread between taking up others' space while trying to positively contribute to their battle/be an ally? I think in this moment especially it's a crucial discussion.

    1. On attempting to take a seat in the omnibus to that place, I was told by the driver (and I never shall forget his fiendish hate). “I don’t allow niggers in here!”

      there are racial problems and discrimination towards Douglass despite being in a "true abolitionists" setting.

    2. The insult was keenly felt by my white friends, but to me, it was common, expected, and therefore, a thing of no great consequence,

      While this should not be the case, being Black (especially at this time) means that racism is to be expected. His white friends being offended just illustrates that they come from two different worlds. Douglass sees through the veil and is used and expects this treatment.

    3. In thinking of America, I sometimes find myself admiring her bright blue sky, her grand old woods, her fertile fields, her beautiful rivers, her mighty lakes, and star-crowned mountains.

      Despite having gone through slavery, his first thoughts are not of the institution when thinking of America. Is this a defense mechanism or just another example of a Black person making the best of a situation as we often do?

    4. the people

      Which people? Were Black voices validated without the backing of white ones?

    5. apologize for slavery

      The church of Scotland in part upholds this believe in order to politically side with Britain's historic occupation, oppression, and enslavement of the Irish. (My family is from the boarder of the Republic and Northern Ireland and there is a long established grudge against the Scotch Presbyterians for this matter.)

    6. Free Church of Scotland

      Interesting anecdote to compare/contrast to Douglass' view of the American religious institution

    7. In a letter to Mr. Greeley, of the New York Tribune, written while abroad, I said:

      Douglass inserts letters he has written to others within his writing, seems significant in that it rids the passages of a mono-tonality and reminds us that what Douglass is saying is part of a larger discourse.

    8. “I don’t allow niggers in here!”

      Repetition here with noted tonal difference employs a level of humor to the injustice of this rejection. Douglass' candor reflects the confidence he gains from the humanity with which he is treated in Ireland and the UK.

    9. he must prove himself equal to the mass of those who oppress him

      Connects to Gates' idea that Black people are forced in their writing and by the practice of writing itself to constantly prove their humanity

    10. The life of Frederick Douglass, recorded in the pages which follow, is not merely an example of self-elevation under the most adverse circumstances; it is, moreover, a noble vindication of the highest aims of the American anti-slavery movement. The real object of that movement is not only to disenthrall, it is, also, to bestow upon the Negro the exercise of all those rights, from the possession of which he has been so long debarred.

      The goal of the writing, is, in short, to give rightful inscriptive power

    11. who, despite the depressing influences surrounding his birth, youth and manhood, has risen, from a dark and almost absolute obscurity

      This is often a dangerous train of logic—it simultaneously displays Douglass as an extraordinary person who beat all the odds, while leaving it open to demand why other enslaved people cannot do the same.

    12. I asked William Whipper, of Pennsylvania, the gentleman alluded to above, whether he thought Mr. Douglass’s power inherited from the Negroid, or from what is called the Caucasian side of his make up? After some reflection, he frankly answered, “I must admit, although sorry to do so, that the Caucasian predominates.” At that time, I almost agreed with him; but, facts narrated in the first part of this work, throw a different light on this interesting question.

      Note how "ethnological" theories of race and racial heritage are unavoidable in this time period, no matter how committed a given writer is to abolition or antiracist politics.

    13. while Heaven lends me ability, to use my voice, my pen, or my vote, to advocate the great and primary work of the universal and unconditional emancipation of my entire race.

      The possessive is vital here, marking the change from possessed to possessor.

    14. I was but nine years from slavery. In point of mental experience, I was but nine years old.

      The theme of timelessness and slavery being outside of time is echoed here.

    15. I took my stand on the high ground of human brotherhood, and spoke to Englishmen as men, in behalf of men. Slavery is a crime, not against Englishmen, but against God, and all the members of the human family; and it belongs to the whole human family to seek its suppression.

      in behalf of men in itself reclaims his own humanity and manhood. Not only is Douglass an ambassador of sorts for enslaved peoples, but also as an american, and as a man.

    16. To this, however, I could not consent. I felt that I had a duty to perform—and that was, to labor and suffer with the oppressed in my native land.

      The return to his 'roots'.

    17. “I don’t allow niggers in here!”

      The repetition of this line compounds its effect on the reader.

    18. America will not allow her children to love her.

      I love this line. Pertinent in 2018 as well.

    19. But my rapture is soon checked, my joy is soon turned to mourning. When I remember that all is cursed with the infernal spirit of slaveholding, robbery, and wrong; when I remember that with the waters of her noblest rivers, the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters; I am filled with unutterable loathing, and led to reproach myself that anything could fall from my lips in praise of such a land.

      The notion of the land being tainted and corrupted by slavery is fascinating, especially considering the treatment of Native Americans/colonization of both lands and peoples.

    20. securing me an audience

      Douglass thus has an audience for his own narrative/story!

    21. so that the idea of a HUMAN BEING, necessarily excludes the idea of PROPERTY IN THAT BEING.

      A human being thus being inherently separate and opposite of a possession/object.

    22. Nothing, therefore, must be set down against this speech on the score that it was delivered in the presence of those who cannot appreciate the many excellent things belonging to our system of government, and with a view to stir up prejudice against republican institutions.

      It seems like Douglass is vetting for the British as the amanuensis have to do for him. A black man has to vet England for abolitionists. He has to invoke the names of republican renowned scholars to back him up. Interesting power structure there.

    23. When it was said to me, “Mr. Douglass, I will walk to meeting with you; I am not afraid of a black man,” I could not help thinking—seeing nothing very frightful in my appearance—“And why should you be?”

      We see this overcompensate to overcome prejudice even today - creating exaggerated support and sentiment for a cause that only reveals a deep-seeded prejudice (and sheepish ignorance) even more.

    24. I employ a cab—I am seated beside white people—I reach the hotel—I enter the same door—I am shown into the same parlor—I dine at the same table and no one is offended. No delicate nose grows deformed in my presence.

      I'll admit I giggled at this. I get his point though. In a completely different place (under a monarchical society no less), the sign of "blackness" doesn't hold the same signified in America. Notice how inscription changes when the context is different.

    25. America will not allow her children to love her.

      Frederick Douglass sees himself as a child of America even though he fully knows his existence in America was due to someone kidnapping his ancestors. What does it mean for a black enslaved person to admit they love or were born of this country? Does calling yourself an American change how your oppression is seen?

    26. , the tears of my brethren are borne to the ocean, disregarded and forgotten, and that her most fertile fields drink daily of the warm blood of my outraged sisters;

      Frederick Douglass refers to the country as female and mentions the pain of black women here! Rare for one speaking about black pain to mention black women as a separate victim - but I highly believe FD was in the midst of the beginning of in sectional feminism (with his involvement with the Suffragettes) .

    27. Heaven lends me ability, to use my voice, my pen, or my vote, to advocate the great and primary work of the universal and unconditional emancipation of my entire race.

      Closes with linkage of these different expressive modalities: what are the differences between these ways of translating will into communications? What are the channels? Who is the author of each and who are the readers?

    28. But for the responsibility of conducting a public journal, and the necessity imposed upon me of meeting opposite views from abolitionists in this state, I should in all probability have remained as firm in my disunion views as any other disciple of William Lloyd Garrison.

      The social relationships necessitated by the production of the news changes FD: so print is not just the passive expression of inner "ideas" and "character" but a network, in which the production changes the producers even as the producers shape the production.

    29. a slavish adoration

      If you read carefully, FD is kind of hilarious.