Joseph Knight

Joseph Knight Exiled to Jamaica after the Battle of Culloden in Sir John Wedderburn made a fortune alongside his three brothers as a faux surgeon and sugar planter In the s he returned to Scotland to m

  • Title: Joseph Knight
  • Author: James Robertson
  • ISBN: 9780007150250
  • Page: 442
  • Format: Paperback
  • Exiled to Jamaica after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Sir John Wedderburn made a fortune, alongside his three brothers, as a faux surgeon and sugar planter In the 1770s, he returned to Scotland to marry and re establish the family name He brought with him Joseph Knight, a black slave and a token of his years in the Caribbean.Now, in 1802, Sir John Wedderburn is settlinExiled to Jamaica after the Battle of Culloden in 1746, Sir John Wedderburn made a fortune, alongside his three brothers, as a faux surgeon and sugar planter In the 1770s, he returned to Scotland to marry and re establish the family name He brought with him Joseph Knight, a black slave and a token of his years in the Caribbean.Now, in 1802, Sir John Wedderburn is settling his estate, and has hired a solicitor s agent, Archibald Jamieson, to search for his former slave The past has haunted Wedderburn ever since Culloden, and ever since he last saw Knight, in court twenty four years ago, in a case that went to the heart of Scottish society, pitting master against slave, white against black, and rich against poor.As long as Knight is missing, Wedderburn will never be able to escape the past Yet what will he do if Jamieson s search is successful And what effect will this re opening of old wounds have on those around him Meanwhile, as Jamieson tries to unravel the true story of Joseph Knight he begins to question his own motivation How can he possibly find a man who does not want to be found James Robertson s second novel is a tour de force, the gripping story of a search for a life that stretches over sixty years and moves from battlefields to the plantations of Jamaica, from Enlightenment Edinburgh to the back streets of Dundee It is a moving narrative of history, identity and ideas, that dramatically retells a fascinating but forgotten episode of Scottish history.

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      Published :2018-05-24T06:12:35+00:00

    1 thought on “Joseph Knight”

    1. I was disappointed with this; I found much of it dry and rather academic. It's about real events and people, and it read more like a history book than a novel, especially the court scenes and the tiresome conversations with Samuel Johnson et al. Robertson was so keen to convey period atmosphere that he had pages and pages of description which fell smartly into the trap referred to by David Mitchell:To get it right, you need to research and research and research. And then you need to hide all you [...]

    2. It’s hard to believe that a man can sit down one day with an idea that has developed in his mind and then starts to meticulously plan and construct a story like this, with all its intricacies, eventually producing such a marvellous novel as ‘Joseph Knight’. I’m quite in awe of this author and his work here. It’s not just a story but an examination of history, freedom, morals and principles. The book is about the search for Joseph Knight, an African who was the subject of an pivotal cou [...]

    3. Entertaining if overlong telling of the story of Joseph Knight. This was a pivotal moment in black history: a slave is given his freedom but must live with the hypocrises and spectres of his past.Exemplary Scots dialect, canny plotting and humorous digressions abound. Historical novels aren't my teacup, but I was pleasantly involved despite myself. (Though 100 pages could be sliced, easily).

    4. I felt there were several novels fighting for prominence within the covers. The Boswell/ Hume aspects were interesting from a historical perspective but got in the way of the narrative. I would like to read a novel about Knight's 'missing' years though.

    5. A great book which entertains and informs. I have enjoyed reading many of James Robertson's novels this year. From Culloden to Jamaica and back to Scotland,each with their own brutality and self justification. This man writes so well. You are so quickly drawn in and carried along. Now back to The Sellout which with its pages of quotes in praise should be brilliant but so far it is obeying my first law, that the more full some the praise by the literary cognoscenti the more impenetrable it will b [...]

    6. I did not enjoy this book. It took too long to introduce the title character. For people interested in Scottish history and Scottish aristocracy, it was an eye opener on how the rich Scots made their money in the Colonies. Too much Scottish vernacular. A lot of irrelevant scenes such as Boswell and Johnson in Scotland.I do not get the connection between the battle of Culloden and the battle to claim ownership of a slave.

    7. “Nations and people are largely the stories they feed themselves. If they tell themselves stories that are lies, they will suffer the future consequences of those lies. If they tell themselves stories that face their own truths, they will free their histories for future flowerings.” – Ben Orki, Birds of HeavenOptimist: I loved this inscription.Cynic: Flowery words. Don’t you think the focus should be on the overwhelming evil of slavery rather than the rehabilitation of the country respon [...]

    8. Although it's entitled 'Joseph Knight', the character himself is barely seen in the story, up until the final couple of chapters. It could better have been named 'The Search for Joseph Knight' for this is primarily what the book is about. There is the physical search that Sir John Wedderburn initiates, to try to find the whereabouts of Joseph, his ex-slave, brought back from a sugar plantation in Jamaica to Scotland, and subsequently freed as a result of several court hearings. The book also dea [...]

    9. Robertson tried, he really did. He makes an admirable stab at writing about two very complex periods in history: the late 18th century and the early 19th century. The first time period covered the Scottish uprising, culminating in the massacre at Culloden, the racial unrest in the colonies, the debate over slavery, and the place of the monarchy in the political realm. The second time period saw the rise of independent democracies, the use of legal channels to achieve freedom from slavery, the bu [...]

    10. I was given this as a present for Christmas 2014, but it took me 9 months to get round to reading it. This is one of those books that for me fell somewhere between 3 and 4 stars, so I have been slightly generous with a 4-star marking.The novel has a strong theme, being based on a real 18th century court case. Joseph Knight, a house slave on a Jamaican plantation, was taken to Scotland by his owner, John Wedderburn, when the latter returned home to Scotland to live. Cutting a long story short, Kn [...]

    11. I really enjoyed this one. The different narratives of the different times worked well together, and the inclusion of specific places and dates, as well as newspaper excerpts at the beginning of each section, lent this novel an air of authenticity. The ambiguity about the characters for a large portion of the novel appealed to me, and the characters all seem like real, fully rounded people. Apart from those elements, the novel is excellently written, especially in its inclusion of the Scottish d [...]

    12. Fascinating insight into Scotland's role in the slave trade. Traces the story of a family of plantation owners - slave owners - and a case between them and one of their slaves. Explores the extent of their responsibility but also their struggles and doubts, fears and conscience, as it tries to explain how something so appalling became acceptable. But like a portrait in a gallery, that insight is limited, at arms length, you never really feel you know the characters. And it is only really at the [...]

    13. Based on the true tale of the slave Joseph Knight, brought back to Inchture (of all places) from Jamaica by his master in 1769. knight won his freedom after a long fight through the Scottish courts, establishing the principle that the unjust laws of slavery in Jamaica could not hold sway in Scotland. The novel conjures up a believable version of Jamaica and Scotland of the time, from the Caribbean plantations to Dundee inns. It avoids going for cheap sympathy by imagining a thrawn and stubborn c [...]

    14. I would recommend this book to anyone and have given it to lots of people as a present. I love the fact that it's a true story and lifts the lid in Scotland's relationship with Caribbean slavery. slavery has literally been "painted out" of the wealth of our national merchants. it connects with so many fascinating turns in history - including the jacobites and the Scottish enlightenment. excellent, educational, and heart breaking.

    15. Based on a true story and true historical facts. Very well written, including lots of details so that once you read it, you get exposed to the different perceptions that perpetuated, excused, and eventually destroyed the machinery of slavery established in Scotland and Britain at that time. You also get to experience how slavery affected the enslaved like Joseph Knight.

    16. This is an extremely skillful novel based on historical events--carefully structured, atmospheric, and with thoughtfully developed characters. The detail in the court scenes is perhaps more than we need, but it's a fascinating look at Scotland's history and connection to slavery in the new world.

    17. I have just returned from Scotland and read this book by a local author. I learned a lot about Scotland and the slave trade in Jamaica. I also was able to glean some history from the storyline. A very good novel if you are interested in Scotland, the legal system and the slave trade.

    18. I'd say five stars but I don't think I could bring myself to read this book again. Some bits are so ghastly, I'd rather forget them. But it's an unnerving study of people brutalised by their own experiences and becoming unfeeling monsters.

    19. A carefully researched historical novel. The amount of details and facts hinders the narrative pace and spoils some of the enjoyment of the story.

    20. An excellent historical novel based on a real-life court case in Scotland in the 1760's, when a Scottish plantation owner brings a slave back to Scotland from Jamaica, and the slave sues for freedom.

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