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M. NourbeSe Philip

Publication Year: 2008

In November, 1781, the captain of the slave ship Zong ordered that some 150 Africans be murdered by drowning so that the ship's owners could collect insurance monies. Relying entirely on the words of the legal decision Gregson v. Gilbert--the only extant public document related to the massacre of these African slaves--Zong! tells the story that cannot be told yet must be told. Equal parts song, moan, shout, oath, ululation, curse, and chant, Zong! excavates the legal text. Memory, history, and law collide and metamorphose into the poetics of the fragment. Through the innovative use of fugal and counterpointed repetition, Zong! becomes an anti-narrative lament that stretches the boundaries of the poetic form, haunting the spaces of forgetting and mourning the forgotten.

Published by: Wesleyan University Press

Title Page

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pp. vii

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pp. xi-xii

A work like Zong!, although apparently authored by one person, only comes into being and to fruition with the assistance and support of many others. It is with great joy, therefore, I embrace this opportunity to recognize, acknowledge, and thank the many individuals who have, in one way or another, walked with, or...


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pp. 57-76


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pp. 77-98


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pp. 99-123


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pp. 125-173


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pp. 175-182

Glossary: Words and Phrases Heard on Board the Zong

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pp. 183-184


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pp. 185-186


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pp. 187-209

Gregson v. Gilbert

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pp. 210-211

E-ISBN-13: 9780819572455
Print-ISBN-13: 9780819568762

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2008