Summary: Upon its publication in 1845, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself became an immediate best-seller. In addition to its far-reaching impact on the antislavery movement in the United States and abroad, Douglass's fugitive slave narrative won recognition for its literary excellence, which has since earned it a place among the classics of nineteenth-century American autobiography. This Norton Critical Edition reprints the 184 ...show more5 first edition of Douglass's compelling work. Explanatory annotations accompany the text.
A rich selection of "Contexts" provides the reader with contemporary perspectives. Included are the little-known preface that Douglass wrote in 1846 for the second Irish edition; a public exchange of letters between A. C. C. Thompson, a former slaveholder, and Douglass; three autobiographical portraits of Douglass's parents; Douglass's account of his escape from slavery, which he chose not to include in the 1845 Narrative; samples of Douglass's use of his slave experience in two of his most influential antislavery speeches; and reminiscences by James Monroe Gregory and Elizabeth Cady Stanton of Douglass as both orator and friend.
"Criticism collects six essential assessments of the Narrative's historical and literary aspects, by William S. McFeely, Peter Ripley, Robert B. Stepto, William L. Andrews, Houston A. Baker, Jr., and Deborah E. McDowell. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.
William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt and To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. He is the editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Booker T. Washington's Up From Slavery and co-editor of The Norton Anthology of African American Literature and the forthcoming Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology.
William S. McFeely is Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen; Grant: A Biography, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Parkman Prize; Frederick Douglass; and Sapelo's People: A Long Walk into Freedom. ...show less