Murphy, Geraldine. "Olaudah Equiano: Accidental
Tourist." Eighteenth-Century Studies 27.4 (1994): 551-68
Equiano, the travelee ripped from his family
and culture and westernized perforce, becomes a
traveler himself when he grows up, observing Europe and other continents just as
Europeans had observed Africa. Equiano's journey
from "accidental tourist" to "dissident colonialist"
is a remarkable achievement. His decision to
continue his travels, to gaze at the west as Europeans had gazed
at Africa, may have have engaged him in the imperialist project
despite himself, but it also opened up European identity
to question in ways the west hadn't bargained for . . .
Francis, Elman V. "Olaudah Equiano: A
Profile." Negro History Bulletin 44.2
(June 1981): 31, 43-44
Olaudah Equiano's autobiography reads like an epic . .
. . his perseverance and hard work in improving himself and helping his own people will never be
Marren, Susan. "Between Slavery and Freedom: The
Transgressive Self in Olaudah Equiano's
Autobiography." PMLA 108 (1993): 94-105.
The conflict that Equiano wrestles within the Life—between
his commitment to sepaking as an African for his fellow
Africans and the necessity of speaking as a white
Englishman to make himself credible in eighteenth-century England—is
transcended by the autobiographical I.
Potkay, Adam. "Olaudah Equiano and the Art of
Spiritual Autobiography." Eighteenth-Century
Studies (Summer 1994): 677-92.
[Equiano's life] begins as Eboe-Hebrew pastoral, falls
into Egyptian bondage and the desire for revenge, and ends up a divine comedy, closing on a
Pisgah-sight of the spiritual Canaan. His final home, in the Interesting Narrative,
is thus Christianity and its exegetical methods: methods
that allow him to read his life as a progress, without closing
off the paths that circle back to where he began.
Chinosole. "Tryin' to Get Over: Narrative Posture
in Equiano's Autobiography." The Art of
Slave Narrative: Original Essays in Criticism
and Theory. Ed. John Sekora and Darwin T. Turner. Macomb: Western
Illinois UP, 1982.45-54.
Equiano's narrative posture can be described as
"guerilla tactics" in tryin' to get
over. HIs candid and complex method of narration
shows the psychological horror of slavery and
racism, but even more strongly asserts the buoyancy
of self-regeneration. His contradictions are many
but paradigmatic of his time; his hard-earned insights demand
respect. Relentlessly unfolding his inner life and
shrewdly observing his outer world Equiano's affirmations on
behalf of an oppressed group earn him the title, "guerilla fighter."
"Gorilla tactics" in tryin' to get over identifies the
mimetic function of Equiano's narrative posture: shifts in
points of view, resulting in multiple uses of voice to expose layers
of underlying irony, which are controlled and uncontrolled, conscious
and unconscious. Aesthetically and politically, irony
serves to unconver personal ambivalence and social contradictions,
brushing against and laying bare the dominant
ideologies of his day.
Harris, Sharon M. "Early American Slave
Narratives and the Reconfiguration of Place."
Journal of the American Studies Association of Texas
21 (October 1990): 15-23.
In Equiano's narrative, one of the earliest of the
more than six thousand known American slave narratives and one of the most popular in the
eighteenth century, he re-places his African
heritage onto American soil. THe result of his
being kidnapped is a movement through various
alien territories which continually forces him to
redefine the meaning of place for a slave.
Orban, Katalin. "Dominant and Submerged
Discourses in The LIfe of Olaudah Equiano (or
Gustavus Vasssa?)." African American Review 27.4 (1993): 655-664.
Although Equiano's embrace of Christianity and Englishness
is certainly not whole-hearted, it should be taken
more seriously than the current critical debate seems
Mtubani, Victor. "The Black in Eighteenth-Century
Britain: African Writers Against Slavery and the
Slave Trade." Phylon 45.2 (June 1984): 85-97.
A study of abolition in the second half of the
eighteenth century should treat seriously the
large contributions made by Africans in England.
It usually has been the tendency to view Africans
in England as mere spectators of their own fate.
Constanzo, Angelo. Surprizing Narrative: Olaudah
Equiano and the Beginnings of Black Autobiography.
New York: Greenwood P., 1987. (In particular, Chapter 4: The
Spiritual Autobiograpy and Slave Narrative of Olaudah Equiano. 41-90.
Equiano is intellligent, clever, and complex. By
making the most of even the slightest opportunities, he achieves numerous roles of
authority. In these roles, he works toward both short-term and long-term goals: he does what he can
for the immediate comfort of those in slavery, and he battles for their ultimate freedom, using whatever appeals—humanitarian,
religious, or economic—will serve his end. To read his story is to be reminded sharply once more of the enormous
social waste that marked the long history of slavery—and of the
indomitable spirit of those who refused to be defeated.
Samuels, Wilfred D. "Disguised Voice in The
Interesting Narrative of Olaudah
Equiano or Gustavus Vassa, the African." Black American
Literature Forum 19 (1985): 64-69.
Equiano's self-portraiture contains ironic and
metaphoric values which upon examination reveal
the dual nature of the thematics and
characterization of his narrative. Fundamentally, it
reveals that in his efforts to build subjectivity in a world of
reification, Equiano reclaims his voice by masking and disguising