Jul 192013
 

McInnis, Maurie D. Slaves Waiting for Sale: Abolitionist Art and the American Slave Trade. University of Chicago Press, 2011

Group of African slaves sitting, waiting for sale, white men in background.

Slaves Waiting for Sale, by Eyre Crowe

This is an excellent work as a reference from the Virigina slave trade in the 1850s. The author includes all kinds of “you are there” details, including clothing and architecture.

Built around work of British artist and journalist Eyre Crowe, who travelled in America in the 1850s as secretary to author William Thackery on a lecture tour.

Crowe read Uncle Tom’s Cabin before he saw any actual slavery, but was moved by it. (Pg.4) Purchased from street book merchant, also selling Thackery’s books. Crowe was “properly harrowed” by the book. (Pg. 19)

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
Jun 182013
 

The first draft of Chapter 5, “The Peculiar Institution”, is now complete and backed up, all 11,000 words of it. It’s about Atlantic slavery and its erotics, and spends a lot of time talking about the master-slave relationship of Hannah Cullwick and Arthur Munby.

Next is Chapter 6, “Class and Classification,” covering the late Victorian flagellant subculture, plus Krafft-Ebing. This is actually in a first draft state already, from years ago, but it is 17,000 words, and I’m trying to keep chapters under 10,000 words or so. I could cut it in two, renaming the first half “The Extraordinary Gentlemen”. However, there’s some redundant material in the chapter as well, and I intend to cut that out, though probably not 7,000 words of it. I will probably cut out the fat and then subdivide into two shorter chapters.

After that comes the early 20th century. This is kind of a lacuna in my research, because I’m not really sure what was going on in the 1900-1950 period. I’d probably mostly talk about film, particularly pre-Hays Code, particularly how American racial anxieties figured in films like Freaks, The Sheik, Frankenstein, the 1931 version of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, etc. If there was any kind of formal BDSM subculture at this time, I have yet to find any evidence of it.

Bookmark and Share
Jun 072013
 

If I’ve been posting less, it’s that I want to devote more energy to finally getting at least a first draft of this book finished.

It’s a week later than I hoped, but I finished a draft of Chapter 4, on Orientalism, weighing in at a little over 7,000 words. It covers the centuries-long influence of Europeans being held prisoner in North Africa and the Ottoman Empire, and the lasting influence on pornography and sexual fantasy. I also touch on American captivity narratives, which are largely about white settlers abducted by Native Americans.

There are a few points I would like to cover, like Burton’s quasi-translation of the Kama Sutra and the vogue for exotic sexuality among certain Orientalist elites, but that may have to go in a later chapter. One of the things I’ve realized in this process is that I can’t include everything I’ve researched. I have to pick and choose, both for length and to keep the narrative pacing going. Just accumulating information and references will bore the reader.

Next is Chapter 5, “The Peculiar Institution.” This should be relatively easy, as I already wrote an earlier draft that covered Atlantic slavery but proved to be too long. I particularly went overboard describing the Munby-Cullwick relationship. Chop that down to 6-8,000 words and that should be good, at least for a first draft. The goal is to get it done by the end of June.

Bookmark and Share
May 062013
 

Baatz, Simon. For the Thrill of It: Leopold, Loeb, and the Murder that Shocked Chicago. HarperCollins, 2008 Amazon

I wish there were more case studies to examine in this field. It’s rare to find a documented sadomasochistic relationship in the pre-modern era; I shudder to think how easily the Munby-Cullwick papers could have been lost. Sometimes one must make do with what one can find. In this case, there’s the case of Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb who probably would have been remembered as eccentrics if they hadn’t kidnapped and murdered a teenage boy, basically just to prove they could.

After their capture for the murder, the two men were thoroughly examined by physicians, neurologists and psychiatrists, who couldn’t agree on a diagnosis. Eventually they were found competent to stand trial. Their examinations and testimonies revealed both had vivid fantasy lives.

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
Feb 232013
 

Django Unchained 2012, writer/director Quentin Tarantino, IMDB

(Spoilers ahead)

Briefly, Django Unchained is about a slave in the Old West, before the Civil War, who is freed by, then partnered with, a German bounty hunter, Dr. Schulz. They set off on a quest (explicitly compared to the German legend of Siegfried/Sigurd) to recover Django’s wife Broomhilda from a plantation known as “Candie Land”.

Continue reading »

Bookmark and Share
Feb 232013
 

I’ve officially agreed to edit a collection of essays on the history of Master-slave relationships, commissioned by the Master Taino’s Training Academy.

I’m very excited about this project, as I will help create a contribution to the scholarship of the history of this field, and also get to work with people who have been involved in this subculture from its earliest days. My hope is that this book will have a place on shelves next to classics like Leatherfolk and Different Loving.

This project should run into 2014, at which point I will present the finished manuscript to MTTA for them to either publish themselves or present to a publisher.

Bookmark and Share

Switch to our mobile site