The Dying Confession of Joseph Hare (1818): Transatlantic Highwaymen and Southern Outlaws in the Antebellum South

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The Dying Confession of Joseph Hare (1818) was a gallows confession composed by an American highwayman in the weeks before his execution in Baltimore. This chapter argues that, in unexpected ways, Hare’s account of his life and crimes in the South in the early years of the nineteenth century was a text that was steeped in the Transatlantic literature and lore of the highwayman: it looks back to English models that crystallised in the eighteenth century, and it points forward to the proliferation of crime narratives and Southern outlaws that blossomed later in the nineteenth century. An idiosyncratic text penned by an eccentric robber, Hare’s pivotal autobiography both complicates and extends our understanding of the relationship between crime and punishment, violence, masculinity, and popular fiction in the nineteenth century South and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationOxford Handbook to the Literature of the US South
EditorsFred Hobson, Barbara Ladd
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780199767472
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2016

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