Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner

May 3rd, 2018 7:30 PM
Five Week Special
Marxist Education Project
Styron’s Confessions of Nat Turner
The Politics of Race and Class in American Literature
Indigenous Peoples History and Literature Group

William Styron’s historical novel The Confessions of Nat Turner won the Pulitzer Prize in 1968. The novel made the world conscious of the slave revolt in Virginia led by Turner in 1831. Styron was a white writer from Virginia. In response to the success of Styron’s novel, an anthology of African-American criticism was published by Beacon Press, featuring the work of 10 different critics. But other African-American writers praised Styron for his work, most notably James Baldwin, who predicted that the history of the rebellion would continue to be written for years to come. That has remained the case to this day.

This May, the MEP's Thursday literature group will read Styron’s novel, the Beacon Press anthology William Styron’s Nat Turner: Ten Black Writers Respond, and Baldwin's essay in defense of Styron. We will discuss the many profound questions concerning race, class, the rendering of historical presentation, and claims on aspects of our shared history that are raised in the novel and its criticism. This class forms part of the MEP's commemoration of the half-century since the pivotal year of 1968.

THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES READING GROUP has grown out of an enthusiastic call for greater understanding of the long history of the peoples of North America and other continents of the world — peoples who were of those continents before and remain after the European colonists settled and brought capitalist relations to every corner of the globe. Our group began following a stirring presentation by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in September 2014 where she introduced An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States.


Sliding Scale: $45 / $55 / $65
no one turned away for inability to pay

The Brooklyn Commons
388 Atlantic Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11217

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