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UAL Research Online

The Afterlife of John Brown, The Anguish none can draw…

Herrington, Eldrid (2005) The Afterlife of John Brown, The Anguish none can draw…. In: The Afterlife of John Brown. Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 1-10. ISBN 1403969922

Type of Research: Book Section
Creators: Herrington, Eldrid

In editing 'The Afterlife of John Brown', Herrington engaged with the substantial cultural legacy of John Brown, and his armed slave rebellion of 1859. Together with Dr Andrew Taylor, I commissioned new work from leading international scholars and I also asked two authors to rework their existing definitive accounts for inclusion in the volume.

The opening chapter responds to the academic vogue of referring to Brown as ‘the first modern terrorist’ and examines Brown’s reputation after his death in art, politics, biography, music, and literature. Herrington argues that to name Brown a ‘terrorist’ in praise evades contemplation of the terror and death that slavery inflicted for hundreds of years. As a descriptor it eclipses facts about the Harper’s Ferry raid and its specific staging by Brown; in an age when ‘terrorism’ is a global issue, it is wrong to confound it with Brown’s actions. I contend that American artists in particular have investigated which epic readings are appropriate for his actions; many paintings refute readings of Brown that claim to see evidence of ‘madness’, a vision I trace through works by Pippin, Lawrence, Curry, and Covey.

Publisher/Broadcaster/Company: Palgrave Macmillan
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 2005
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2009 13:51
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2014 12:30
Item ID: 1259
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1259

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