Narrative of a Five Year’s Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam

TitleNarrative of a Five Year’s Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsStedman, John Gabriel, Richard Price, and Sally Price
Number of Pages808
PublisherOpen Road Distribution
CityNew York

When John Gabriel Stedman's Narrative of a Five Years Expedition was first published in 1796, it became an immediate popular success. A first-hand account of an eighteenth-century slave society, including graphic accounts of the worlds of both masters and slaves, it also contained vivid descriptions of exotic plants and animals, of military campaigns, and of romantic adventures. Stedman's work was quickly translated into a half-dozen languages and was eventually published in over twenty-five different editions. The Prices' edition is based on Stedman's original, handwritten manuscript, which offers a portrait at considerable variance with the 1796 classic. The unexpurgated text, presented with extensive notes and commentary, constitutes one of the richest and most evocative accounts ever written of a flourishing slave society. The editors restored early omissions involving Stedman's horror at the Dutch planters' use of casual torture to discipline their slaves; his love and admiration for Joanna, his mulatto mistress; his strong belief in racial equality; and his outrage that "in 20 Years two millions of People are murdered to Provide us with Coffee & Sugar." Freed from its original publisher's censorship, Stedman's Narrative stands as one of the strongest indictments ever to appear against New World slavery. A compilation of excerpts about Joanna and her son was published separately under the title Narrative of Joanna, an Emancipated Slave of Surinam in 1838.

Original PublicationNarrative of a five years' expedition, against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, in Guinea, on the Wild Coast of South America; from the year 1772, to 1777. London: Johnson & Edwards, 1796.
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