Pioneers of the Black Atlantic: Five Slave Narratives from the Enlightenment, 1772-1815

By Henry Louis Gates Jr.; William L. Andrews | Go to book overview

EDITOR'S NOTE

THE TEXTS IN THIS VOLUME have been edited, but not abridged, to facilitate contemporary reading. The long s [ſ], which was used routinely in eighteenth-century English printing, but which looks like an f to today's reader, has been printed as an s in the texts of this edition. We have modernized and/or emended the spelling of words in these texts to conform to contemporary American English usage. Thus words such as "honour," "defence," "chequered," "staid," "shew," "ancles," and "merchandize" in the original texts are emended to read "honor," "defense," "checkered," "stayed," "show," "ankles," and "merchandise," respectively. Whenever the spelling of a proper name differs significantly from today's spelling, we have emended the spelling of that proper name. Thus "Martinico," "Charles-town," and "Musquito," for instance, have been emended to Martinique, Charleston, and Miskito. Italicized words and passages in the original texts have been preserved in italics in this edition, but some unitalicized terms that are normally italicized in today's usage--such as the names of ships or the titles of books--have been italicized in this edition as an aid to the reader. Single words such as "anything," "everyone," "forever," and "today" that in the eighteenth century usually appeared as two words--"any thing," "every one," "for ever," and "today"--are printed in accordance with twentieth-century usage. The archaic term "viz." (an abbreviation of the Latin videlicet) has been translated into "namely" in this edition. Obvious inconsistencies in spelling within a given text have been silently corrected, but when a text employs variant spellings of a word, such as "intreat" and "entreat," and there is no clear indication of which spelling would have been the author's preference or in established usage at the time, we have not emended or attempted to regularize the variants. The inconsistent use of "an" and "a" in these texts, yielding constructions such as "an universal good" or "an history," has been regularized in accordance with twentieth-century practices.

We have generally not attempted to regularize inconsistencies in capitalization within or among the texts, nor have we imposed contemporary capitalization style. Terms normally capitalized today, such as Negro or the Bible, often appear in lower case. Punctuation

-xiii-

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