Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments

Intimate Histories of Riotous Black Girls, Troublesome Women and Queer Radicals

Saidiya Hartman
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Revolution in a minor key: how young black women invented freedom.

WINNER OF THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD
SHORTLISTED FOR THE JAMES TAIT BLACK PRIZE 2020

At the dawn of the twentieth century, black women in the US were carving out new ways of living. The first generations born after emancipation, their struggle was to live as if they really were free.

These women refused to labour like slaves. Wrestling with the question of freedom, they invented forms of love and solidarity outside convention and law. These were the pioneers of free love, common-law and transient marriages, queer identities, and single motherhood - all deemed scandalous, even pathological, at the dawn of the twentieth century, though they set the pattern for the world to come.

In Wayward Lives, Beautiful Experiments, Saidiya Hartman deploys both radical scholarship and profound literary intelligence to examine the transformation of intimate life that they instigated. With visionary intensity, she conjures their worlds, their dilemmas, their defiant brilliance.

Author bio:

Saidiya Hartman is a Columbia University professor of English and Comparative Literature. She is the author of Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-making in Nineteenth Century America (1997) and Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route (2007). In 2019, Hartman was awarded a prestigious MacArthur 'Genius' Grant.

Category: History
ISBN: 9781788163248
Publisher: Profile Books
Imprint: Serpent's Tail
Pub Date: August 2021
Page Extent: 416
Format: Paperback - B format
Subject: History