The Interesting Narrative

ISBN : 9780198707523

Olaudah Equiano; Brycchan Carey
272 Pages
128 x 195 mm
Pub date
Jan 2018
Oxford World's Classics
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  • A new edition of one of the most celebrated slave narratives, written by a former slave who went on to become a leading figure in the British abolitionist movement
  • Equiano's personal account of the horrors of slavery is also an exciting adventure story of his travels on the high seas, and as an explorer and merchant in the Caribbean, the Arctic, and America
  • Uses the lively 1789 first edition text
  • Brycchan Carey's introduction surveys Equiano's role in the abolition debate, the book's style and structure, recent debates about Equiano's birthplace and identity, and the book's increasingly central position among the great works of eighteenth-century literature
  • Includes explanatory notes, a glossary of unfamiliar terms, and a gazetteer of places mentioned

'I hope the slave trade may be abolished. I pray it may be an event at hand.'
Published a few days before the British parliament first debated the abolition of the slave trade in 1789, Olaudah Equiano's Interesting Narrative gives the author's account of his enslavement after his childhood kidnapping in Africa, and his journey from slavery to freedom. Equiano was slave to a captain in the Royal Navy, and later to a Quaker merchant, and he vividly depicts the appalling treatment of enslaved people at sea and on land. He takes part in naval engagements, is shipwrecked, and has other exciting adventures on his travels to the Caribbean, America, and the Arctic.
Equiano claimed his own freedom and became an important abolitionist, but his Narrativeis much more than merely a political pamphlet. The most important African autobiography of the eighteenth century, it has achieved an increasingly central position among the century's great works of literature.
The introduction to this edition surveys recent debates about Equiano's birthplace and identity, and considers his campaigning role and literary achievements.


Note on the Text
Select Bibliography
A Chronology of Olaudah Equiano
Explanatory Notes
Index and Guide to the People, Places, and Ships Mentioned in the The Interesting Narrative

About the author: 

Olaudah Equiano
Edited by Brycchan Carey, Northumbria University
Brycchan Carey is an expert in the cultural history of slavery and its abolition. He is the author of From Peace to Freedom: Quaker Rhetoric and the Birth of American Antislavery, 1658-1761 (Yale UP, 2012), and British Abolitionism and the Rhetoric of Sensibility: Writing, Sentiment, and Slavery, 1760-1807 (Palgrave, 2005). His most recent collection, Quakers and Abolition, co-edited with Geoffrey Plank, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2014.

"The appetite for Equiano and his memoir shows no signs of abating, as this new edition shows." - James Walvin, The Times

"The book adds to the body of knowledge about a great man, Olaudah Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, The African. Students now have a wider chose of resources as they study his complex but interesting life." - Arthur Torrington, The Equiano Society

"This book will change our assumptions about slavery and affect, and also change our sense of what works can be connected to this vast enterprise. It makes for what is sometimes surprising reading, but it also makes so much sense that the century will never again look quite the same as it did before this book." - George E. Haggerty, SEL Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

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