Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
The Portrait's SubjectInventing Inner Life in the Nineteenth-Century United States$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Sarah Blackwood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781469652597

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469652597.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021



Writing the African American Portrait

(p.48) Chapter Two Head
The Portrait's Subject

Sarah Blackwood

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter explores the cultural significance of portraiture for nineteenth-century Black American writers. It argues that many Black writers engaged with portraiture in their texts to both question and reframe the new connections being made between portraiture and personhood. They championed the power of portraiture to assert and document a sitter’s humanity while also expressing skepticism toward the idea of portraiture as revelatory about the “deep” truths of a sitter’s personhood. Many Black writers toyed with the question of “likeness” in their texts, holding out for what Douglass called “a more perfect likeness.” This chapter makes these arguments through close readings of a series of Douglass speeches about visual culture, Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Hannah Crafts’s The Bondwoman’s Narrative, and Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and their Friends, as well as original archival research on runaway slave advertisements, The North Star, and mid-century newspaper practices.

Keywords:   Frederick Douglass, Hannah Crafts, Frank J. Webb, Harriet Jacobs, Racism, Runaway slave advertisements, fugitivity

North Carolina Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .