(PUBLibrary of America)''Were we to possess one book from the 19th century to render vivid the evils of slavery and more vivid the triumph of the human spirit, it would be one of the three Douglass' autobiographies. His description of conversion and a life of faith are classics,''---Christian Century. 1126 pages, hardcover.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the only authoritative edition of all three autobiographies by the escaped slave who became a great American leader.
Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in this Library of America volume are collected his three autobiographical narratives, now recognized as classics of both American history and American literature. Writing with the eloquence and fierce intelligence that made him a brilliantly effective spokesman for the abolition of slavery and equal rights, Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845), published seven years after his escape, was written in part as a response to skeptics who refused to believe that so articulate an orator could ever have been a slave. A powerfully compressed account of the cruelty and oppression of the Maryland plantation culture into which Douglass was born, it brought him to the forefront of the anti-slavery movement and drew thousands, black and white, to the cause.
In My Bondage and My Freedom (1855), written after he had established himself as a newspaper editor, Douglass expands the account of his slave years. With astonishing psychological penetration, he probes the painful ambiguities and subtly corrosive effects of black-white relations under slavery, then goes on to recount his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglasss renowned speeches, including the searing "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?"
Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, first published in 1881, records Douglasss efforts to keep alive the struggle for racial equality in the years following the Civil War. Now a socially and politically prominent figure, he looks back, with a mixture of pride and bitterness, on the triumphs and humiliations of a unique public career. John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe all feature prominently in this chronicle of a crucial epoch in American history. The revised edition of 1893, presented here, includes an account of his controversial diplomatic mission to Haiti.
This volume contains a detailed chronology of Douglasss life, notes providing further background on the events and people mentioned, and an account of the textual history of each of the autobiographies.
Frederick Douglass, an outspoken abolitionist, was born into slavery in 1818 and, after his escape in 1838, repeatedly risked his own freedom as an antislavery lecturer, writer, and publisher.
Henry Louis Gates, Jr. was Professor of English, Comparative Literature, and Africana Studies at Cornell University, and also tenured at Yale, Duke, and Harvard, where he was appointed W.E.B. DuBois professor of humanities in 1991. Professor Gates is the author of Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the Racial Self, Wonders of the African World, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism, Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Black Man, Loose Cannons: Notes on the Culture Wars, and Colored People: A Memoir. With Cornel West, he co-wrote The African American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Country and The Future of the Race. He is also the editor of the critically-acclaimed edition of Our Nig, an annotated reprint of Harriet E. Wilsons 1859 novel, The Slaves Narrative (with the late Charles T. Davis), Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience, Six Womens Slave Narratives, and In the House of Oshugbo: Critical Essays on Wole Soyinka. He is a recipient of the MacArthur Prize.