93 The Black Vampyre: A Legend of St. Domingo (1819)

A full pdf and critical introduction to The Black Vampyre: A Legend of St. Domingo (1819) is available at this link.

This text has been made available by Professors Duncan Faherty and Ed White, who coordinate the Just Teach One project. According to the project website, the occasion and goals of this project are as follows:

“Recovery of neglected or forgotten texts is an integral part of teaching and writing in early American studies, and the current moment is in part defined by the strange blend of opportunities and obstacles for such work.  Digital versions of texts are available in ways they never before have been, yet access is uneven and subject to vulnerable library budgets.  Furthermore, even when such texts are obtainable, they are difficult to read and almost always lack the textual apparatus so important for the unknown text.  Meanwhile, print editions face formidable challenges—publishers shy away from unknown texts; works with modest sales  fall out of print; books become more and more expensive; and many institutions do not reward the labor of recovery, be that through graduate projects or scholarly editions, as they once did.  Then there are the tremendous challenges of classroom practice—finding the time to prepare new materials, rethinking syllabi and assignments, and fitting unusual works into course rubrics geared for the canonical.  One could go on with subtler but no less daunting challenges: the absence of supporting secondary scholarship; the risk of reducing the new text to an auxiliary of some canonical standard; the pedagogical aversion to anonymity; the preference for texts of particular lengths or genre clarity; the apparent relative simplicity of “new” texts, and so on.  The challenges are formidable, and can make the work of recovery seem a form of gambling.

Just Teach One hopes to provide a modest attempt to address this often frustrating situation.  First, with the generous support of the American Antiquarian Society and Common-place, we hope to provide a body of publicly available scholarly transcriptions of early texts, with basic editing and apparatus.  Second, we hope to provide a critical mass of teachers incorporating the new text into their classroom.  And finally, and most importantly, these teachers provide reflections on the text, insights and reaction, intertextual possibilities, and so on, in ways that should provide guidance for other teachers.

In this fashion, we hope that Just Teach One can provide a practical, long-term and cooperative, if still modest, approach to the problem of textual recovery.  In an effort to reduce the “risks” of adding new material to a pre-existing course, we have prepared editions of short texts which can be taught in a single class session. In other words, this project initially aims to increase our objects of study while minimizing the labor involved in reconfiguring our syllabi. Our selection of texts is in part motivated by how these recovered artifacts might intersect or complicate our operant sense of familiar objects of study, thus expanding our praxis by thinking about new textual constellations. By providing a platform to foster an ongoing pedagogical conversation about these new materials, we hope the project can serve as a practical laboratory for canonical and archival expansion.”




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The Open Anthology of Earlier American Literature: A PSU-Based Project Copyright © 2016 by Robin DeRosa and Abby Goode is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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