This essay argues that the death of a fictional photographer in the 1907 novel Rupert Gray: A Tale in Black and White allays anxieties posed by photographic surveillance and “feminization.” Even if the novel's faith in the British Empire disqualifies it from being radical, its portrayal of the political fortunes of black male leadership in the Caribbean as potentially thwarted by female authority, ancestral shame, and the objectification of tourist photography offers a useful way of conceptualizing the black radical tradition in terms of vulnerability as a condition to be avoided. Moreover, Rupert Gray illuminates concerns about sovereignty and surveillance in our present.
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Faith Smith; Rupert Gray's Vulnerability … and Ours. Small Axe 1 March 2013; 17 (1 (40)): 71–83. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/07990537-1665443
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