Abstract

The double signature “Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa,” while often noted, has not received the attention it merits as a rhetorical gesture. This essay argues that Equiano/Vassa’s double name is a creative solution to a formidable problem: it allows him to participate in the eighteenth century “economy of character” at the same time as it marks that economy’s intersection with the Atlantic slave trade. Situating Equiano/Vassa’s double name in the contexts of Lockean political theory, theory of authorship, and the trope of prosopopoeia, “Good Names” argues that the Interesting Narrative offers an innovative account of political personhood that responds to the paradoxes faced by black Atlantic subjects.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1935-0201
Print ISSN
0193-5380
Pages
pp. 1-23
Launched on MUSE
2013-03-06
Open Access
No
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