First published in London in 1816, The Narrative of Robert Adams is an account of the adventures of Robert Adams, an African American seaman who survives shipwreck, slavery, and brutal efforts to convert him to Islam, before being ransomed to the British consul. In London, Adams is discovered by the Company of Merchants Trading which publishes his story, into which Adams inserts a fantastical account of a trip to Timbuctoo. Adams's story is accompanied by contemporary essays and notes that place his experience in the context of European exploration of Africa at the time, and weigh his credibility against other contemporary accounts. Professor Adams's introduction examines Adams's credibility in light of modern knowledge of Africa and discusses the significance of his story in relation to the early nineteenth century interest in Timbuctoo, and to the literary genres of the slave narrative and the Barbary Captivity narrative.
Charles Hansford Adams is Associate Professor of English at the University of Arkansas where he acts as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and International Programs. He is the author of The Guardian of the Law: Authority and Identity in James Fenimore Cooper(1991). His essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, Southern Quarterly, American Studies, Western American Literature, and numerous collections.
1. Preface; 2. Bibliography; 3. Acknowledgments; 4. The Narrative of Robert Adams; 5. Interior of Africa (North American Review, May 1817); 6. Article IX. The Narrative of Robert Adams: a review essay by Jared Sparks (North American Review, July 1817).