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Constituting Value in A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Venture, a Native of Africa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses Venture Smith's remarkable life as a testament of the promise and peril of eighteenth-century capitalism and explores Smith's understanding of his place in an emergent economic system. In addition to this historical examination of Smith, it also evaluates the Narrative as a tool Smith used to negotiate the economic system in which he had been both commodity and businessman. In other words, the chapter reads the Narrative not just as the story of a remarkable life but also as a product in its own right, one of the "key cultural and political artefacts" that circulated along with human beings throughout the Atlantic world. By using this approach, the chapter broadens the notion of an "Atlantic Life" so that it includes the histories of those whose struggles help readers understand the diversity and complexity of the Atlantic world.

Keywords: Africa; Atlantic world; cultural artefacts; political artefacts; Smith's Narrative; Venture Smith



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