Historical Metafiction and the Quest for Black Self-Authority in Laurence Hill’s Novel “Someone Knows My Name”


Rewriting history in fiction is not a new phenomenon in literature, since historical novels engage fictional characters in a real historical context to offer a glimpse of past times. However, historical metafiction offered a different framework. It is working under postmodernism by asking “what happen” through a repetition of history. This paper sought to analyze the strategy of Laurence Hill in rewriting the history of slavery in Someone Knows My Name novel. He constructed the experience of slavery by framing the history of Black Loyalists in Nova Scotia, Canada, and inventing a fictional character, Aminata Diallo, who primarily attributed as Black Muslim woman from Mali, Africa. Hill seemingly nailed Hutcheon’s ideas about historiographical metafiction, that apt for “us(ing) and abus(ing)” the concepts of history and any textual traces of the past. Hill, in the novel, intentionally does not generate a nostalgia or glorification of the past, but demonstratively creates a critical distance of the past. Hill successfully dismantles; the myth of Canada as Canaan for blacks in the enslavement period, the abolitionist political role in blacks’ slave narrative, and racial mythologies by presenting black self-identity and authority, and struggling to be recognized as human beings.

Author Information
Rasiah, Halu Oleo University, Indonesia
Akhmad Marhadi, Halu Oleo University, Indonesia
La Bilu, Halu Oleo University, Indonesia
Elisabeth Ngestirosa, Teknokrat University of Indonesia, Indonesia

Paper Information
Conference: PCAH2023
Stream: Literature/Literary Studies

This paper is part of the PCAH2023 Conference Proceedings (View)
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To cite this article:
Rasiah ., Marhadi A., Bilu L., & Ngestirosa E. (2023) Historical Metafiction and the Quest for Black Self-Authority in Laurence Hill’s Novel “Someone Knows My Name” ISSN: 2758-0970 The Paris Conference on Arts & Humanities 2023 Official Conference Proceedings https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2758-0970.2023.18
To link to this article: https://doi.org/10.22492/issn.2758-0970.2023.18

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Posted by James Alexander Gordon