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Preview — Blake by Martin Robison Delany
Blake: or; The Huts of America
Delaney's hero is a West Indian slave who travels throughout the South advocating revolution, and later becomes the general of a black insurrectory fore in Cuba. Blake hopes that, with rebellion in Cuba and the expulsion of all Americans, Cuba's model as a self-governed black state will ultimately precipitate the downfall of slavery in the United States.
Focusing on the pol...more
Focusing on the pol...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published June 1st 1971 by Beacon Press
(first published November 30th 1969)
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The word I believe best describes Blake: or, the Huts of America is... "uneven." The introduction prepares us for this. It notifies us that Delany, formerly an associate of Frederick Douglass's, published the book in installments in at least two separate newspapers and did so while his own political platform and vision for the future of enslaved black Americans were in flux. And it forewarns us that the novel's last two chapters remain undiscovered. The Beacon Press includes a note pleading for...more
I just don't know what to think of Delany's Blake. It's overt subversion of Beecher Stowe is notable and interesting to trace. But his overall sense of prose is rather one-dimensional and bland. And I just cannot reconcile the gradual disintigration of plot, character (Henry/Blake), and overal political purpose in the second half of the book. Maybe I just need to mull over it some more and perhaps survey some other readings of the text, but I was left ultimately frustrated and bored. Maybe, in s...more
This is one of the lost gems of African-American literature. It's a fascinating read, and the main character is really interesting. I especially like the second part, set in Cuba, in which Blake sets up a revolutionary organization and plans a government. The discussions sometimes sound like a nineteenth century version of West Wing. The novel was originally published serially in a newspaper, and the ending (along with the issues it is assumed to have appeared in) has been lost.
Wow, this one is interesting. Written by a black man in 1859, it is about a freed slave who goes around the South sowing the seeds of slave insurrection. Good stuff--inspired by Vessey, John Brown, Nat Turner and other men who attempted to rebel against slavery. Had to have been pretty shocking for its time, though not surprising, given the state of the nation. Page after page of slave dialogue can be tough to read, though.