The Known World (Hardcover)

By Edward P. Jones

Amistad, 9780060557546, 400pp.

Publication Date: August 14, 2003

Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (6/14/2004)
Paperback (8/29/2006)
Paperback (5/25/2004)
Audio Cassette (9/1/2003)
Paperback (10/10/2017)
Paperback, Large Print (6/15/2004)
Paperback (10/1/2004)

List Price: 24.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Henry Townsend, a black farmer, bootmaker, and former slave, has a fondness for Paradise Lost and an unusual mentor -- William Robbins, perhaps the most powerful man in antebellum Virginia's Manchester County. Under Robbins's tutelage, Henry becomes proprietor of his own plantation -- as well as of his own slaves. When he dies, his widow, Caldonia, succumbs to profound grief, and things begin to fall apart at their plantation: slaves take to escaping under the cover of night, and families who had once found love beneath the weight of slavery begin to betray one another. Beyond the Townsend estate, the known world also unravels: low-paid white patrollers stand watch as slave "speculators" sell free black people into slavery, and rumors of slave rebellions set white families against slaves who have served them for years.

An ambitious, luminously written novel that ranges seamlessly between the past and future and back again to the present, The Known World weaves together the lives of freed and enslaved blacks, whites, and Indians -- and allows all of us a deeper understanding of the enduring multidimensional world created by the institution of slavery.


About the Author

Edward P. Jones, the New York Times bestselling author, has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize, for fiction, the National Book Critics Circle award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award for The Known World; he also received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2004. His first collection of stories, Lost in the City, won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was short listed for the National Book Award. His second collection, All Aunt Hagar’s Children, was a finalist for the Pen/Faulkner Award. He has been an instructor of fiction writing at a range of universities, including Princeton. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Praise For The Known World

— The New Yorker

— Time

— Entertainment Weekly

— Newsday

— Starred Library Journal

— Kirkus Reviews (starred)

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

— Baltimore Sun

— Peter Matthiessen

— New York Times

— Speakeasy

— O Magazine

— San Diego Union-Tribune

— Newsweek

— Atlanta Journal-Constitution

— Philadelphia Inquirer

— Time Out New York

— Seattle Times

— Booklist (starred)

— Book Magazine

— USA Today

— St. Louis Post-Dispatch

— The Washington Times

— Fort Worth Star-Telegram

— People (4-Starred Critic's Choice)

— QBR: The Black Book Review

— Dallas Morning News

— Chicago Tribune Books

— Essence

— Boston Globe

— Chicago Tribune Books

— Time magazine