We all know that some chapters are just hell to write. You don’t like them, or you don’t like the historical subjects whom the chapter revolves around, or you aren’t jazzed about the topic. Since we chart our own writing course, why do we make ourselves write about something or people whom we do not like? I’m not talking about the obligatory chapters like the lit review—that can actually be quite fun to write. I mean that chapter that you may have written hastily or kept on the back burner. It’s the one that’s the least workshopped and as a result has never benefitted from the curating of our more polished and favorite chapters. That chapter is something of an orphan.
My chapter from hell was literally the last chapter that I wrote. This was not a Freudian moment; it just unfolded in trajectory pf the book's argument that it was the last chapter. I wrote about “defective” slave sales—redhibitory actions in which aggrieved buyers claim they were duped by unscrupulous sellers who hid slave “defects” in the transaction. For US readers, causes of redhibition appear principally in the Louisiana records. However they are common in all slave markets. In effect, redhibition as a cause of action based on implied warranties was worked out almost exclusively around slave purchases and rescission—similarly to the way that rules of possession were developed around foxes and whales.