Acts of Implication: Suggestion and Covert Meaning in the by Irvin Ehrenpreis

By Irvin Ehrenpreis

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Additional resources for Acts of Implication: Suggestion and Covert Meaning in the Works of Dryden, Swift, Pope, and Austen (The Beckman Lectures, 1978)

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We never read this testimony; it is preserved and mediated by Penelope Winston. By contrast, Panger's sympathetic but unnamed narrator finds and publishes Turner's handwritten autobiography. ) mediated by the narrator, in its unfinished entirety. Left alone, Panger's Nat Turner would write a self-justifying text, for he believes that he is his own best advocate. Yet the old saying that a lawyer who defends himself has a fool for a client is certainly borne out here. Panger slyly thrusts Nat Turner into a masculinist plot that basically undercuts his manhood.

If the slaves had motives or grievances that might dignify their "savage undertaking," these have no place in Floyd's text. "10 The insurgents were not heroes resisting tyranny and oppression; this space is reserved for Virginia's whites only. It is they who have been and are oppressed; it is they whom Floyd exhorts, at the end of the address, to resist. Thus, Floyd's failure to name the ignominious Nat turner, coupled with his recital of how Virginia vanquished these "deluded fanatics," is an act of counterinsurgency on his part.

1 The revolt caught the people of Southampton County off-guard for sev- 1. Herbert Aptheker, Nat Turner's Slave Rebellion, Together with the Full Text of the So-Called 'Confessions' of Nat Turner Made in Prison in 1831 (1966; rpr. , The Southampton Slave Revolt of 1831: A Compilation of Source Material (Amherst, 1971), v. Page 2 eral reasons. "2 Second, August was traditionally a month of leisure in this region. The major crops were in, and owners and slaves alike led a less structured life. Third, many Southampton residents had recently traveled across the state line to Gatesville, North Carolina, to attend a large camp meeting.

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