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Modern Medea

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About the Author

Steven Weisenburger, professor of English and co-director of the Program in American Culture at the University of Kentucky, is the author of Fables of Subversion: Satire and the American Novel and A "Gravity's Rainbow" Companion.


The events that inspired Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize-winning Beloved (LJ 9/1/87), recently released as a film starring Oprah Winfrey, are the subject of this true account by Weisenburger (English, Univ. of Kentucky; Fables of Subversion: Satire and the American Novel, Univ. of Georgia, 1995). The gruesome act of Margaret Garner, who killed her children rather than allowing them to be slaves ("Let us go to God rather than go back to slavery"), touched off a firestorm of controversy just a few years before the Civil War. Weisenburger is the first scholar to attend to this drama that uncovered dirty truths about our nation's past and the burning drive to escape bondage. He details not only the crime of infanticide and a desperate mother but skillfully portrays the country, the South, and the lives of both slaves and whites. Weisenburger integrates scholarly research and a fine narrative approach in relating this "drama of disunion, a prelude to fratricidal war."‘Kay Meredith Dusheck, Univ. of Iowa, Anamosa

"Weisenberger has told the full tragedy of the real Margaret Garner, and her life speaks to us more eloquently than any novel about the inhumanity of slavery, the spirit of freedom and the strength of the human will." --James C. Klotter, Lexington Herald-Leader "Weisenburger . . . researched newspaper articles, courtroom testimony, maps and manuscripts to piece together the real and fascinating account of the institution of slavery and one slave's dramatic rebellion against it." --Sharon Shahid, USA Today

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