richard price & sally price

Complete Critical Edition, Open Road, 2016

Abridged edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992

Stedman self-portrait, engraved by Francesco Bartolozzi

"A negro hanged alive by the Ribs to a Gallows," engraved by William Blake

John Gabriel Stedman's Narrative of a Five Years Expedition Against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam

Two magnificent editions of John Gabriel Stedman's 1790 Narrative of a five-years expedition to Surinam...

Narrative of a Five Years Expedition against the Revolted Negroes of Surinam, by John Gabriel Stedman, edited and with an introduction and notes by Richard Price and Sally Price (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988; Open Road, 2016)
...... and
Stedman's Surinam: Life in an Eighteenth-Century Slave Society, an abridged, modernized edition, by Richard Price and Sally Price (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)

When John Gabriel Stedman's Narrative was first published in 1796 -- a bowdlerized edition "full of lies and nonsense" -- Stedman claimed to have burned two thousand copies. It nevertheless became an immediate popular success. A first-hand account of an eighteenth-century slave society, including graphic accounts of the worlds of both masters and slaves, it also contained vivid descriptions of exotic plants and animals, of military campaigns, and of romantic adventures. Illustrated by William Blake, Francesco Bartolozzi, and others, Stedman's work was quickly translated into a half-dozen languages and was eventually published in over twenty-five different editions.

The Prices' acclaimed critical edition is based on Stedman's original, handwritten manuscript, which offers a portrait at considerable variance with the 1796 classic. The unexpurgated text, presented here with extensive notes and commentary, constitutes one of the richest and most evocative accounts ever written of a flourishing slave society. The Prices restore early omissions involving Stedman's horror at the Dutch planters' use of casual torture to discipline their slaves; his love and admiration for Joanna, his mulatto mistress; his strong belief in racial equality; and his outrage that "in 20 Years two millions of People are murdered to Provide us with Coffee & Sugar." Freed from its original publisher's censorship, Stedman's Narrative stands as one of the strongest indictments ever to appear against New World slavery.

In the paperback abridgment, the text has been modernized and pruned of many plant and animal descriptions, but Stedman's reflections on the slave society itself have been fully retained, as has the Prices' substantive introduction about the history of both Stedman's experience in Suriname and the manuscript's 1796 publication by Joseph Johnson in England.

"The 1790 Narrative is mostly written in direct, earthy prose that evokes the emotional response of a young European captain to the naked breasts of 'beautiful Negroe Maids,' to the clouds of ravenous 'muskitos,' to the tremors of tropical fever, and to the delight of stripping off all his sweat-soaked clothing and diving daily into the cool depth of a Surinamese river.... After the passage of two centuries, we now have a superbly edited critical edition of the book Stedman actually wrote."
--David Brion Davis, New York Review of Books

The abridged edition (1992) remains in print. An unchanged reprint of the 1988 Johns Hopkins University Press unabridged critical edition is available in oversized paperback from Open Road (2016), price from $26.99.

"Europe supported by Africa & America," engraved by William Blake

Selected Books:

“Richard and Sally Price’s elegiac account of their time living among the Saamakas of Suriname in the 1960s is wholly engrossing, and of the very highest narrative quality. I can see, smell, and feel everything they describe. The Prices have never been fresher or more readable as literature.” --George E. Marcus
Boléro Tropical, a French-language reimagining of Enigma Variations, is now available from and
Winner of the 2012 Best Book Award of the American Political Science Association in the field of Human Rights and the 2012 Senior Book Prize of the American Ethnological Society. "An extraordinary work, actively written and exceptionally thought-provoking, Rainforest Warriors will be a classic." --Donald Brenneis, UC Santa Cruz
"A delicious combination of art, anthropology, and politics"--Lucy R. Lippard. "A fascinating, entertaining, and troubling book"--Journal of Anthropological Research. "A complex story of passion, intrigue, and power"--Journal of Surrealism and the Americas. "A crackling good story"--Museum.
Winner of the 2008 Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing, the 2009 Gordon K. and Sybil Lewis Memorial Award for Caribbean Scholarship, and the 2009 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion. . . . "An astonishing performance ... as lucid and cordial as the best contemporary fiction.”--George Lamming
A lavishly-illustrated art book
A French-language original, printed in full color.
"A tour-de-force ... a true marriage of anthropology and art history." --Fred Myers, New York University
"A witty, but scholarly, indictment of the whole primitive art business." --Newsweek
"A superb calaloo of a book ... that explores the underlying insanity of the colonial experience." --George Lamming
"A true gem... The promise of literary ethnography is fulfilled: to educate and, just as a lark, to entertain." --African Arts
"Sensitive and honest, First-Time is required reading for all who seek to learn something new through first-hand, long-term research with non-western intellectuals" --Ethnohistory
"A splendid effort to recover the past." --New York Review of Books
"A splendid anthology, skillfully edited and introduced." --Eugene D. Genovese
"An innovative analysis of the creativity of African-Americans under the extreme constraints of slavery." --Rebecca Scott
"Conceived with sophistication but presented with simplicity and clarity" --Choice
"A brilliantly crafted experiment in postmodern narration --J. Jorge Klor de Alva, president, University of Phoenix
As seas dry up, books speak out loud, and elephants assume human form, we are present at a whole sequence of world-shaping happenings such as the invention of sex, the discovery of drums,and the arrival of death among humans.
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