Middle Passage (Paperback)

By Charles Johnson

Scribner Book Company, 9780684855882, 224pp.

Publication Date: July 1, 1998

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Description

A twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Charles Johnson's National Book Award-winning masterpiece--"a novel in the tradition of Billy Budd and Moby-Dick...heroic in proportion...fiction that hooks the mind" (The New York Times Book Review)--now with a new introduction from Stanley Crouch.

Rutherford Calhoun, a newly freed slave and irrepressible rogue, is lost in the underworld of 1830s New Orleans. Desperate to escape the city's unscrupulous bill collectors and the pawing hands of a schoolteacher hellbent on marrying him, he jumps aboard the Republic, a slave ship en route to collect members of a legendary African tribe, the Allmuseri. Thus begins a voyage of metaphysical horror and human atrocity, a journey which challenges our notions of freedom, fate and how we live together. Peopled with vivid and unforgettable characters, nimble in its interplay of comedy and serious ideas, this dazzling modern classic is a perfect blend of the picaresque tale, historical romance, sea yarn, slave narrative and philosophical allegory.

Now with a new introduction from renowned writer and critic Stanley Crouch, this twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Middle Passage celebrates a cornerstone of the American canon and the masterwork of one of its most important writers. "Long after we'd stopped believe in the great American novel, along comes a spellbinding adventure story that may be just that" (Chicago Tribune).


Praise For Middle Passage

Chicago Tribune


Long after we'd stopped believing in the great American novel, along comes a spellbinding adventure story that may be just that.


The New York Times Book Review


Heroic...engrossing...in the tradition of Billy Budd and Moby Dick...fiction that hooks into the mind.


San Francisco Chronicle


A rousing adventure yarn that resonates with and echoes the spirit of early sea stories...Johnson has fashioned a tale of travel and tragedy, yearning and history, and done so from a different, rarely explored viewpoint....Middle Passage is a story of slavery, often brilliant in its structure and riveting in the way it's told.


The Washington Post


Middle Passage
is both unexpectedly funny and highly intellectual.


Los Angeles Times Book Review


Highly readable...by turns mimicking historical romance, slave narrative, picaresque tale, parable, and sea yarn, indebted to Swift, Coleridge, Melville, and Conrad.


Essence


A vivid and compelling work.


USA Today


A fascinating allegory of the way black and whites came together in this country...Johnson's remarkable novel challenges us.


Publishers Weekly


A savage parable of the black experience in America...blending confessional, ship's log, and adventure...in luxuriant, intoxicating prose.


Newsday


Middle Passage
resonates...a spirited adventure tale daringly spun off the realm of myth.



Coverage from NPR

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