Incidents in the life of a slave girl
The unflinching nineteenth-century autobiography that broke the silence on the psychosexual exploitation of Black women—with an introduction by Tiya Miles, recipient of a MacArthur “genius” grant
“[A] crowning achievement . . . [Jacobs] remodeled the forms of the black slave narrative and the white female sentimental novel to create a new literary form—a narrative at once black and female.” —Henry Louis Gates, Jr., The New York Times
In clear and unshrinking prose, Harriet Jacobs—writing under the pseudonym Linda Brent—relates the story of her girlhood and adolescence as a slave in North Carolina and her eventual escape: a bildungsroman set in the complex terrain of a chauvinist, white supremacist society. Resolutely addressing women readers, rather than men, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl seeks to make white women understand how the threat of sexual violence shapes the lives of enslaved Black women and children. Equal parts brave and searing, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl is a triumph of American literature.
The Modern Library Torchbearers series features women who wrote on their own terms, with boldness, creativity, and a spirit of resistance.
AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES • THE AWAKENING • THE CUSTOM OF THE COUNTRY • THE HEADS OF CERBERUS • LADY AUDLEY’S SECRET • LOVE, ANGER, MADNESS • PASSING • THE RETURN OF THE SOLDIER • THERE IS CONFUSION • THE TRANSFORMATION OF PHILIP JETTAN • VILLETTE