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Sites and Sources

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 4 months ago


this site has some of Stedman's art and the html file has much to say about Joanna. It also has a cool picture of a very old edition of stedman's text.




I found this on a site devoted to slavery in the americas. http://www.slaveryinamerica.org/scripts/sia/gallery.cgi?term=&collection=slavetrade&index=6

"Barbarous Cruelty Inflicted on a Negroe." Captain John Gabriel Stedman, an Englishman, spent five years during the 1770s, in the Dutch colony of Surinam in Guiana documenting the agricultural enterprises dependant on slave labor. Stedman described this scene as the "first object which presented itself after my landing ... a young female slave, whose only covering was a rag tied round her loins, which, like her skin, was lacerated in several places by the stroke of the whip. The crime which had been committed by this miserable victim of tyranny, was the nonperformance of a task which she was apparently unequal, for which she was sentenced to receive two hundred lashes, and to drag during some months, a chain several yards in length, one end of which was locked around her ancle, and the other was affixed a weight of at least a hundred pounds..." Notice that other African slaves carried out the punishment orders of the slaveholder; also notice the startled appearance of the English soldier, probably Stedman as he came upon the scene. Note too the color and facial features of the woman being whipped in comparison to those who are doing the whipping. Stedman refers in his writing to the many mulattos and quaderoons, or the offspring of white enslavers and the enslaved, among the slave population. These mixed race children and adults most often resulted from the sexual assaults on enslaved females by the white, male enslavers. Stedman, John Gabriel. Curious Adventures of Captain Stedman, During an Expedition to Surinam, in 1773. London: Thomas Tegg, III, Cheapside, 1796. Mariners' Museum.


http://www.bartleby.com/66/15/55415.html Stedman quotes





Sources/ Quotes on Stedman's view of Slavery

(not sure if this is where I should post these so let me know if I should move them)


Richards, David. Masks of Difference: Cultural Representations in Literature, Anthropolog, and Art. Cambridge University Press. 1994. http://books.google.com/books?id=iKs2RRcbDwQC&dq=stedman+surinam&lr=&source=gbs_summary_s&cad=0

    “Stedman, your gentle melancholy Art

    Distills the Loyal chaos of your heart,

    Weeps over the victims of a barb’rous Age,

    But distances to Elegance, Outrage;

    You could not murder Style to match their Life;

    You saw not Slaves but Men and a dear Wife.

                Landeg White” (86).


    “Stedman’s Surinam is a state where Mandeville’s pleasure principle has been transformed by hedonism into the violence of luxury.  Stedman carefully documents a society where the pursuit of sexual gratification is enmeshed with slave ownership and violence” (92).

    “Behn’s description of the execution of Oroonoko recorded many of the same details: the same recognitions that the black body is the object of the white gaze, to be fucked or flogged, but the differences are immense.  Behn’s Oroonoko achieved the status of a symbolic enunciation which Stedman’s figures can never do.  There is no textual form, no narration which can ‘account’ for, render, or make eloquent these figures in the same way.  Stedman’s point of reference is neither the romance nor the Renaissance images of martyrdom, but another kind of text which, as yet, unwritten: Conrad’s Heart of Darkness” (93).

    “As with his designations of Indian tribal types, Stedman articulates differences along a spectrum of colour-culture: White, Mestico, Quadroon, Mulatto, Samboe, Mongroo, Black.  There is a rage for the absoluteness of these categories of colour in Stedman’s writings, the minute gradation of shade representing precise identifications, just as the distinction of Indian tribes specified qualitative traits in their behavior” (98).



Pratt, Mary Louise. Imperial Eyes: Travel Writing and Transculturation. London: Routledge. http://books.google.com/books?id=spMOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA91&dq=stedman+surinam&lr=&sig=RpckV9GAIq3PkZ4G7EuvIH0d7Nw#PPA255,M1


    “Between expeditions against the maroons, Stedman lived in the heart of Dutch colonial society, whose workings he describes in dramatic and often unflattering detail.  In fact, his disparaging descriptions of Dutch plantation owners, idle, sadistic, and overfed, coincide point for point with Barrow’s worst depictions of the Afrikaners.  It would be difficult to say which aspect of his book caused greater sensation in Europe: the lurid, and luridly illustrated, denunciations of Dutch cruelty to their slaves, or his idealized romance, and marriage, with the mulatto slave Joanna” (92).

    “Stedman’s marriage to Joanna, like many transracial love affairs in the fiction of this time, is a romantic transformation of a particular form of colonial sexual exploitation” (96).

    “It is easy to see transracial love plots as imaginings in which European supremacy is guaranteed by affective and social bonding; in which sex replaces slavery as the way others are seen to belong to the white man; in which romantic love rather than filial servitude or force guarantee the willful submission of the colonized” (97).



Glausser, Wayne. Locke and Blake: A Conversation Across the Eighteenth Century. University Press of Florida. http://books.google.com/books?id=YdjtoIQvWCQC&pg=PA76&dq=stedman+surinam&lr=&sig=UydH2DXmw4B5T7C1e3_ZmF7YHuY#PPT1,M1


    “Stedman’s Narrative is no simple antislavery text, however.  In fact, although modern readers might easily understand its appeal among abolitionists- the book gives numerous lurid accounts of torture by masters and drivers, as well as familiar denunciations of European barbarism and greed (which by that time had become conventional, almost formulaic) – they would be surprised at the defenses of slavery Stedman offers and at some of the more unfortunate effects of the Narrative’s ethnocentrism.  To begin with, Stedman’s laments over European barbarism do not mean that he has forsaken the ideology of development as articulated by Locke in the Second Treatise….. Stedman resolves this apparently contradictory messages of his book by defending slavery, but only as practiced by the most enlightened and humane of owners” (77).

    “Next comes the sociological approach.  He has observed that some slaves are treated abominably, but others are treated with great kindness.  His survey is impressionistic and suspiciously patriotic: English masters are less likely to treat slaves barbarically than are masters of other nationalities.  The ethical conclusion is obvious: a sudden emancipation will simply turn slaves over to more cruel masters, serving nations who will be unable to temper their desires for sugar” (77).



Sollors, Werner. Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Exploration of Interracial Literature. Oxford University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=0qp0HG2zcsgC&pg=PA201&dq=stedman+surinam&lr=&sig=4Cv4uD28A_HzSPTAsIDks5pNVH8#PPA573,M1


    “His sympathy for the suffering of slaves was memorably expressed, and it was captured by William Blake’s engravings that, among others, illustrated the book…. Yet Stedman’s attitude toward slavery was complicated, its representation strongly affected by the revisions; the editor of the 1796 narrative made him sound like a more consistent proslavery advocate than he was in the manuscript, and his critical observations were toned down” (202).



Thomas, Helen. Romanticism and Slave Narratives: Transatlantic Testimonies. Cambridge University Press. http://books.google.com/books?id=V8OblNkJFIgC&pg=PA131&dq=stedman+surinam&lr=&sig=6Ent6g0FW_PJiuMX8REAusH80QE#PPP1,M1


    “For Mary Louise Pratt, Stedman’s relationship with Joanna is one of ‘romantic love rather than filial servitude’: it is a relationship which enacts a ‘wilful submission of the colonised’ and therefore demonstrates the possibility of ‘cultural harmony through romance’.  Conversely, however Stedman’s narrative demonstrates the process by which cultural integration in its most explicit form – i.e. miscegenation – is refused permanence, even when articulated within the paradigm of ‘fictionalised’ autobiography.  Manifestations of miscegenation, cross-cultural contact, and hybridity (symbolized by the existence of their ‘mutant’, bastard son, Johnny) are carefully marginalized; redetermined as sites existing beyond the fictional and therefore unspeakable” (132).




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