Although works by Afro-American writers are the primary focus, the authors also examine antislavery novels by white women. Hortense J. Spillers gives extensive attention to Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle Tom's Cabin", in juxtaposition with Ishmael Reed's "Flight to Canada"; Carolyn L. Karcher reads Lydia Maria Child's "A Romance of the Republic" as an abolitionist vision of America's racial destiny.
In a concluding chapter, Deborah E. McDowell's reading of "Desa Rose" reveals how slavery and freedom-- dominant themes in nineteenth-century black literature-- continue to command the attention of contemporary authors.
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