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“Of Remarkable Omens in My Favour”

“Of Remarkable Omens in My Favour”

Olaudah Equiano, Two Identities, and the Cultivation of a Literary Economic Exchange

Chapter:
(p.187) “Of Remarkable Omens in My Favour”
Source:
Anywhere But Here
Author(s):
Edward L. Robinson
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781628461558.003.0008

“‘Of Remarkable Omens in My Favor’: Olaudah Equiano, Two Identities, and the Cultivation of a Literary Economic Exchange” by Edward L. Robinson Jr., explores the The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or, Gustavus Vassa, the African (1789) as a work that seeks to “ingeniously” cultivate a relationship between two identities and two audiences—African and European. “For Equiano,” Robinson writes in his essay, “the narrative stands as a careful negotiation of the complexities that are critical in cultivating socio-political and economic capital in the commercial Atlantic.” Again the past, real or imaginary, plays an important role in seeking legitimacy with multiple audiences. As a way to connect with his European audiences, Equiano scripted an African past,— adopted the European name Gustavus Vassa in reference to Swedish King Gustav I, and succeeded in combining both narratives. Imbued with the values and ideals representative of both communities in the Atlantic, his narrative becomes a voice against racial injustice and slavery.

Keywords:   Olaudah Equiano, African identity, European Identity, Gustavus Vassa, Racial injustice, Swedish King Gustav I

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