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Confessions of Nat Turner, The

styron black slave novel

a novel by William Styron, published in 1967. Set like much of his writing in the American South—in Southside Virginia, near Styron's own birthplace—the novel draws its inspiration from a historical incident, the slave insurrection that took place in 1831. The author attempts to examine the racism of his society by adopting the perspective of the black slave leader Nat Turner. Rather than the language of a plantation slave, Styron attributes to his protagonist the vocabulary of an intellectual capable of analysing and assessing his own situation and that of his people. Though the novel was praised for its historical accuracy and for raising the complex questions of racism, slavery, and the use of justified violence, it fell foul of the black separatist movement gaining strength at the time of its reception, and Styron has been criticized for his appropriation of a black sensibility and his superimposition of white cultural norms on black consciousness.

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