F20 Black Atlantic: Resources, Pedagogy, and Scholarship on the 18th Century Black Atlantic

Epistolary of Black British Writing

When I was reading through Sancho letters I kept thinking to myself how this was very different in terms of form from other writing by former slaves. More than the form being different, I was struck by how mundane it was and why was it so significant that Sancho’s letters are being collected and put into a book. But what makes this different from other slave narratives is that this is not a slave narrative and why is it that we are getting his letters rather than a narrative of his own experience of his life as a slave in his own words. This use of his life through letters is something so marked different from other African British writers who have taken time to either write their own or have someone else writer their narrative of their lives during slavery. For Sancho, we are given letters written that I would assume are part of  larger correspondences between intimate friends, but it often feel as though the letter do not lend themselves to give real insight into his own life but leave me with more questions. At times I feel as though I am jumping into a conversation with Sancho but I do not know the context of the conversation. This fragmentation of Sancho’s life through the epistolary is an interesting phenomenon in which the letter lend themselves to certain silences, or rather the intimacy between those he is writing to lends itself to assume that he knows who he is writing to and that he does not need to provide details. At times I feel as though I am jumping into the middle of a discourse, thrown in the deep end and have to sort of piece together what the story is and why Sancho is writing the way he does.

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