Tuesday, September 14, 2010

What is Margot Minardi reading?

The current featured contributor at Writers Read: Margot Minardi, author of Making Slavery History: Abolitionism and the Politics of Memory in Massachusetts.

Her entry begins:
My recent reading has been unintentionally Anglophilic. I’m currently reading Julian Barnes’s novel Arthur and George, which interweaves the biographies of two Britons from the turn of the last century: Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes stories, and George Edalji, a lawyer of Scottish and Indian ancestry who was jailed for three years following a wrongful conviction for murdering farm animals. Some academic historians despise historical fiction, but I am definitely in the camp of those who think that novelists often get at the truths of history better than historians do themselves. My book, Making Slavery History, actually quotes a line I absolutely love from Barnes’s Flaubert’s Parrot: “the past is autobiographical fiction pretending to be a parliamentary report.” I love the way that...[read on]
Among the early praise for Making Slavery History:
"This is a graceful, elegant book that is also very, very smart. Minardi's subject is history itself and its uses in constructing identity-the chronicling, justifying, memorializing, and explaining of slavery and the Revolutionary-era ending of slavery in Massachusetts. She elaborates, fine-tunes, and textures the 'constructed amnesia' argument about the history of slavery in New England in important ways, demonstrating just how this was in fact a history constructed of both presence and absence. In style and imagination, this manuscript powerfully evokes Jill Lepore's The Name of War, and in skillful reading of material objects as well as texts, Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's The Age of Homespun."
--Joanne Pope Melish, University of Kentucky

"Margot Minardi takes memory studies back to history, and the results are consistently illuminating. A careful, well written, valuable addition to antislavery, New England, and African American history."
--David Waldstreicher, Temple University
Margot Minardi is Assistant Professor of History and Humanities at Reed College.

Learn more about Making Slavery History at the Oxford University Press website.

Writers Read: Margot Minardi.

--Marshal Zeringue