"Voyage through death/to life upon these shores": the living dead of the Middle Passage

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Etat: Public
Version: Final published version
ID Serval
serval:BIB_66BAFE128728
Type
Article: article d'un périodique ou d'un magazine.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Titre
"Voyage through death/to life upon these shores": the living dead of the Middle Passage
Périodique
Atlantic Studies. Literary, Cultural and Historical Perspectives
Auteur⸱e⸱s
Chassot Joanne
ISSN
1478-8810 (Print)
1740-4649 (Online)
Statut éditorial
Publié
Date de publication
03/2015
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
12
Numéro
1
Pages
90-108
Langue
anglais
Résumé
While historical studies of the Atlantic slave trade have amply demonstrated the magnitude of slave mortality during the Middle Passage, only recently have they started to examine how the captives might have endured and coped with this traumatic experience. Although it constitutes a major topos in African diasporic culture, the Middle Passage has only occasionally been represented directly and in details in novels and in films. This article examines three recent narratives of the Middle Passage, Fred D'Aguiar's novel Feeding the Ghosts (1998), Guy Deslauriers's film Passage du milieu (2000), and Stephanie Smallwood's historical study Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (2007). Beyond their individual poetic, aesthetic, and scholarly qualities, what is most striking about these three texts is that they all use the figure of the living dead in order to explore the captives' experience of the transatlantic journey. If the ghastly quality of the living dead powerfully captures the life-threatening material and physical conditions the captives endured on the voyage, its dual, liminal character also allows D'Aguiar, Deslauriers, and Smallwood to represent the metaphysical, psychological, social, and cultural journey they were forced to undertake. Through their use of the trope of the living dead, these three texts show that if death is indeed a central aspect of the experience of the Middle Passage, it impacts the captives in ways that go well beyond the issue of mortality.
Mots-clé
Middle Passage, living dead, social death, zombi, Fred D'Aguiar, Guy Deslauriers, Stephanie Smallwood
Site de l'éditeur
Open Access
Oui
Création de la notice
25/03/2015 21:22
Dernière modification de la notice
20/08/2019 15:22
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