When the text was originally under review, Katherine Flynn made a suggestion that the author could have been Jane Johnson and Nina Baym suggested that she may have been Hannah Vincent. Both of these suggestions have been disproven, and as stated earlier, we now know the author is in fact Hannah Bond.
Critics have been trying to determine if the novel is a complete or partial autobiography. There are characters within the novel that have been discovered as real people in Milton, VA, which is one of the few places the author actually names. Crafts mentions the areas in Milton such as the steamboat landing along the James River. The detail with which the author explains her surroundings suggests that this novel is at least, in part, an autobiography.
The importance of this novel being rediscovered is that if this novel is in fact written by Hannah Bond, a fugitive slave, this would be a manuscript that was unedited by any white editors. This work would have been an actual slave’s thoughts without any changes by another human being. This would make this work very unique and something that should be recognized as a complete original.
He sent a friend to bid at the auction (he still couldn't walk) and, $8500 lighter, found himself the proud owner of a tattered, fading, 300-page manu script bearing the title 'The Bonds woman's Narrative by Hannah Crafts, a Fugitive Slave recently Escaped from North Carolina'.
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After Gates sent the book to various scholars, many signed on to help in the quest to find a historical record of Hannah Crafts. One, William Andrews, the E. Maynard Adams professor of English at the University of North Carolina, pointed out John Hill Wheeler's involvement in the Passmore Williamson case, in which Wheeler's slave Jane Johnson was aided by Williamson, an abolitionist, in her escape from the slave owner. Imagine Gates' surprise, then, to learn that Crafts mentions Johnson in her manuscript.
The Bondwoman's Narrative eBook: Hannah Crafts: …
After having hip-replacement surgery in early 2001, Gates, the W.E.B. Du Bois professor of the humanities and chair of Afro-American studies at Harvard University, was suddenly faced with an abundance of time on his hands. On sabbatical, he spent most of his days reading. Gates had begun receiving catalogs from New York's Swann Galleries, one of the foremost auction houses for African-Americana. One day, while perusing their catalog, he noticed a handwritten manuscript for sale, one purported to be an authentic "fictionalized biography," thought to date from the 1850s, signed by an escaped slave calling herself Hannah Crafts. Its history could be traced back to the 1940s, when it was owned by Dorothy Porter, the African-American scholar.
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Hannah Crafts is a person who is somewhat of a mystery. For years, many people have searched for the person who composed the novel The Bondwoman’s Narrative. Her identity was originally thought to have been Jane Johnson until it was discovered that Jane Johnson is in fact referenced within the novel.
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It was not until very recently that her true identity was discovered as . We can make assumptions that pieces of the novel are true based upon the discovery that Hannah Bond was in fact owned by John Hill Wheeler who is Hannah’s owner at a point in the novel. We do not know much detail yet as to any specific information about Hannah Bond but hopefully we will soon when the book The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts is published by who is the person that finally cracked the case of Hannah’s true identity.
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The Bondwoman's Narrative is a 2002 novel written in themid-nineteenth century by Hannah Crafts, a self-proclaimed runaway from. The published novel has a preface by , a literaryprofessor at , describing thehistory of its acquisition, verification and publication. Scholarshave speculated that the novel, possibly the first written by anAfrican-American woman, was created between and . Itmay precede the novel , published in 1859.