Process-Oriented Imagination in Dred: A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856) by Harriet Beecher Stowe
Keywords:Materialist, Utopia, Feminism, Gender studies, Stowe, Anti-Slavery
Despite its remarkable nature of small narratives and voices of “dependant” as fissures or interruption in the history of slavery, Stowe’s Dred has been regarded as a novel of “futile” agency, reproduction of power and reappropriation of what it condemns. In many scholarly studies, the political worth of Stowe’s writing has been associated mainly with matriarchal utopian writing. Matriarchal utopia in terms of ahistorical and separatist world with overemphasis of “care” and male extinction is a limit itself on matriarchal literary politics. My research is an attempt to recuperate Stowe’s political agency embedded in her novel from the obscurities of traditional criticism by introducing its processual and conceptual feminist utopian writing. Dred is a narrative in which the acknowledgement of the inevitability of change is not disentangled from the material continuities of the history. Stowe does not eclipse realities rather engages with them industriously to scrutinize the knowledge of history with the hope to imagine a better future. The novel does not offer a “utopian myopia,” rather it contains multiple small narratives that weave together pragmatically to understand and disrupt the institutional structure of slavery.
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