Higher Education

American Captivity Narratives, 1st Edition

  • Olaudah Equiano
  • Mary Rowlandson
  • Gordon M. Sayre University of Oregon
  • Paul Lauter Trinity College, General Editor
  • ISBN-10: 0395980739  |  ISBN-13: 9780395980736
  • 464 Pages
  • © 2000 | Published
  • College Bookstore Wholesale Price = $27.75



This volume collects a wide variety of works from a uniquely American literary tradition, the captivity narrative. Beginning with an excerpt from Hans Staden's The True History of His Captivity, which influenced the American captivity narrative, this volume presents accounts by early settlers held captive by Native Americans (Mary Rowlandson, John Smith), narratives by African American slaves (Olaudah Equiano, John Marrant), and others. Collected with the real-life accounts are two captivity poems by Lucy Terry and John Rolling Ridge, and several popular tales and legends on the subject.

Table of Contents

1. Captive to Cannibals
Hans Staden, from The True History of His Captivity (1557)
2. Saved by the Chief's Daughter
Garcilaso de la Vega (The Inca), from La Florida (1605)
John Smith, from The Generall History of Virginia (1624)
3. Jesuit Missionary Martyrs
Isaac Jogues, Novum Belgium (1655)
Christophe Regnaut, "A Veritable Account of the Martyrdom and Blessed Death of Father Jean de Brébeuf and of Gabriel Lalemant" (1649)
4. The Foundational Narrative of Mary Rowlandson
Increase Mather, Preface to the Reader
Mary Rowlandson, The Sovereignty and Goodness of God (1682)
5. Two Puritan Captivities as Told by Cotton Mather
Cotton Mather, "A Notable Exploit" (1702)
Cotton Mather, "A Narrative of Hannah Swarton" (1702)
Henry David Thoreau, from A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)
6. Two African American Captives
John Marrant, A Narrative of the Lord's Wonderful Dealings with John Marrant (1785)
Olaudah Equian, from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1784)
7. A Prisoner of War Adopted by the Iroquois
James Smith, An Account of the Remarkable Occurences in the Life and Travels of Col. James Smith (1799)
8. A Legend of the American Revolution
Michel René Hilliard d'Auberteuil, Miss McCrea: A Novel of the American Revolution (1784)
9. Two Captivity Poems
Lucy Terry, "Bars Fight" (1855)
John Rollin Ridge, "The Stolen White Girl" (1868)
10. Two Nineteenth-Century Popular Tales
Anonymous, "The Indian Captive" from Columbian Almanac (1838)
Gertrude Morgan: Or Life and Adventures among the Indians of the Far West (1866)
11. A Captive Indian
S.M. Barrett, fromGeronimo's Story of His Lift (1906)

Meet the Author

Author Bio

Paul Lauter

Paul Lauter is the Smith Professor of Literature at Trinity College. He has served as president of the American Studies Association and is a major figure in the revision of the American literary canon.