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Fatal RevolutionsNatural History, West Indian Slavery, and the Routes of American Literature$
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Christopher P. Iannini

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780807835562

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807838181_iannini

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The Birds of America and the Specter of Caribbean Accumulation

The Birds of America and the Specter of Caribbean Accumulation

(p.253) 6 The Birds of America and the Specter of Caribbean Accumulation
Fatal Revolutions

Christopher P. Iannini

University of North Carolina Press

The final chapter describes the beginnings of John Audubon's Birds of America in his early career in lower Louisiana and New Orleans. Focusing on Audubon's unpublished journal of his early struggles in lower Louisiana, his published “ornithological biographies” from the region, and his later autobiographical sketch of his birth in and flight from revolutionary Saint-Domingue, the chapter casts new light on his environmental consciousness and visual aesthetics of violence. Read in conjunction with “Myself,” and alongside Audubon's images from Louisiana, the Mississippi River Journal depicts this formative phase in the composition of the Birds of America as a return to the Caribbean vortex—to a semitropical region shaped by plantation slavery and incipient slave revolution.

Keywords:   John Audubon, Birds of America, Saint-Domingue, Myself, plantation slavery, slave revolution

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