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Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 6 months ago

Stedman’s narrative was accepted as a major success in colonial

literature. . It was first published in 1796, but was not viewed as a successs by Stedman himself who claimed to have burned 2,000 copies of his Narrative due to the fact that it was filled with “lies and nonsense” (Brion). Regardless, the narrative was translated into a half-dozen languages and was eventually published in over twenty-five different editions. He was well acclaimed for his insights on the slave trade and was readily accepted as a strong vision of anti-slavery. His narrative even stands as one of the strongest indictments ever to appear against New World Slavery (Brion).


Many editions of Stedman’s Narrative have been oublished, but it has take almost two centuries for the critical edition that he actually wrote to come into popular print. The abridged edition published in 1992 remains in print, but the unabridged critical edition published in 1988 is out of print, but there are a limited number of copies that still do exist (Brion). Due to its portrayl of a strong female slave, aboloitionists decided to forge the chapter on the young slave Joanna from the Narrative into its own published novel. His Narrative continued to impact the popular world throughout the centuries and was even considered to be the “cause celebre” in the abolitionist movement. On the other hand, it became the handbook for the anti-guerilla combat in the tropics whose rules for marching and fighting in tropical swamps and sloughs anticipated those the British developed during the Ashanti campaign in the Gold Coast starting in 1824 (Lang). His Narrative remains as a success in the modern world as it is commonly used in University classes across the globe as a concrete example of abolitionist literature and slave revolt.



Brion, David. Davis, John Gabriel Stedman’s Narrative of a Five Years Expediton Against the Revolted Negroes of Suriman. New York Times Review of Books. http://www.richandsally.net/work17.htm.


Lang, George. Entwisted Tongues: Comparative Creole Literatures. Rodopi, 2000. page 185.

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