Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Heraldry in Ned Ward's "A Trip to Jamaica"

Taking a break from governance/union/funding matters to make a note of a surprisingly racialized heraldry reference in Ned Ward's A Trip to Jamaica (1698):
A Man under this Misery, may be said to be the 'Scutchion of the Island, the Complection of the Patient, being the Field, bearing Or charg'd with all the Emblems of Destruction, proper, supported by Two Devils, Sables; and Death the Crest, Argent. (488)
This version is from Carla Mulford's anthology, Early American Writings, and follows upon a sarcastic portrayal of the unhealthy effects of a Jamaican diet on travelling Europeans, including "The Dry Belly-Ach," which "takes away the use of their Limbs, that they are forc'd to be let about by Negro's" (488)--who are, of course, the "Two DevilsSables" referred to above.

There's a connection to both The Scarlet Letter and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn here, but what kind of connection is the question I'll leave hanging for now...and just bemoan the fact that I heard about this conference in searching for my older posts here on the topic!

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