Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives on Early African-American Literature

Beyond Douglass: New Perspectives on Early African-American LiteratureEd White and Michael Drexler, Eds.

Bucknell University Press, 2008
ISBN: 9780838757116

The starting point for Beyond Douglass is an institutional paralysis in the study of early African-American literature. Over the past decade, literary anthologies have codified this tradition through the exemplary figures of Phillis Wheatley, Olaudah Equiano, Harriet Jacobs, and Frederick Douglass. Ironically, scholars have continued the valuable work of reclamation, a warrant for new approaches to slave narratives, protest literature, autobiography, poetry, and fiction. The danger, however, is that these more recently presented works will remain texts for the specialist and will neither enter nor modify the newly established canon. Beyond Douglass seeks to intervene in this premature canonization, inviting a pedagogical communication between teachers of American literature. These essays explore both newly recovered texts and new scholarly approaches, and represent a powerful call to revise what we think we know about this rich vein in American letters.

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