On Lingering and Being Last
Race and Sovereignty in the New World
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Fordham University Press
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Sovereignty seems to be everywhere these days, and no one is very happy about it. Political theorists, cultural observers, historians, scholars of international relations, lawyers, anthropologists, literary critics—all approach the dilemmas of sovereign power with a mixture of urgency and frustration....
1. On Lingering and Being Last: Aphra Behn and the Deterritorialized Sovereign
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By April 1677, Nathaniel Bacon had been dead for half a year, and many of his fellow rebels had been hanged or had their holdings confiscated. The king’s commissioners were in Virginia to try to make sense of things and put the profitable colony back on track. Charles II was irritated at Governor...
2. The Future Perfect King:Olaudah Equiano and thePoetics of Experience
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Is a life after death possible for Oroonoko, Aphra Behn’s royal slave? He shows no interest at all in Christian conceptions of an afterlife. To be honest, Behn herself does not show much interest in the issue either, but at one point the narrator tries to do her duty with regard to Imoinda, ‘‘endeavouring...
3. Was Billy Black? Herman Melville and the Captive King
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It sometimes happens, when I am teaching Billy Budd, that a brave student will ask, after a day or so of discussion, ‘‘Is Billy black?’’ How could such a misunderstanding come about? It’s true that Melville’s language is notoriously difficult for students,...
4. Jefferson’s Convulsions: Archiving Logan
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The last man to go down with the ship in Moby-Dick is Tashtego, the Gay- Head Indian, whose final act is to nail a sky-hawk’s wing to the mainmast: ‘‘The submerged savage beneath, in his death-grasp, kept his hammer frozen there; and so the bird of heaven, with archangelic shrieks, and his imperial...
5. Sovereignty, Race, and Melancholyin the Transatlantic Romantic Novel
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‘‘Who is there to mourn for Logan?—Not one.’’ I return to these final words of Logan’s lament, words at once obdurate and magnetic, fascinating and repulsive. I return to them precisely because there is nothing to be done. Logan’s discursive isolation is melancholic, in the precise sense that it is not...
6. Treaties, Trauma, Trees: The Dream of Hadwin
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Here is a parable from ‘‘west of everything.’’
In 1997 a man named Grant Hadwin swam the frozen Yakoun River with his chainsaw in tow and cut down an extremely rare golden spruce in the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. The tree was...
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Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2008