Where Is All My Relation?: The Poetics of Dave the Potter (Hardcover)

Where Is All My Relation?: The Poetics of Dave the Potter By Michael A. Chaney (Editor) Cover Image

Where Is All My Relation?: The Poetics of Dave the Potter (Hardcover)

By Michael A. Chaney (Editor)


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Where Is All My Relation? presents the first sustained academic discussion of the poetry, pottery, and culture of David Drake, an antebellum slave who distinguished himself by composing verse on the ceramics he produced in the years leading up to the Civil War. During the 1830s, 40s, and 50s, he incised couplets and signatures (a singular "Dave") onto the incredibly large storage vessels that he made. In fact, his stoneware pots and jars are among the largest made in North America during the antebellum era, and craft enthusiasts and appraisers are still proclaiming their precision and ambitious volume. Rich with biblical allusions, historical facts, and personal opinions, his art provides unique insights into the lives of slaves, craftsmen, and the culture of the American South in the first half of the nineteenth century. The essays here engage with the historical context and major issues that Drake's work provokes, among them: prohibitions against slave literacy; Drake's
privileged status compared to other slaves at the time; the interpretive status of his material craft objects; the influence of contemporary African American poet George Moses Horton; and Drake's ability to sell his pottery despite the fact that slaves were not officially permitted to participate in a cash economy. Featuring essays by literary critics, art-historians, archaeologists, and curators, Where Is All My Relation? provides a window into the world of nineteenth century material culture and expands our traditional understanding of the slave-narrative genre.

Michael A. Chaney is Associate Professor of English at Dartmouth College and the author of Fugitive Vision: Slave Image and Identity in Antebellum Narrative (2008).
Product Details ISBN: 9780199390205
ISBN-10: 0199390207
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication Date: June 6th, 2018
Pages: 256
Language: English