In this Book

New Essays on Phillis Wheatley
buy this book Buy This Book in Print
summary
The first African American to publish a book on any subject, poet Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784) has long been denigrated by literary critics who refused to believe that a black woman could produce such dense, intellectual work, let alone influence Romantic-period giants like Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Indeed, Thomas Jefferson once declared that “the compositions published under her name are below dignity of criticism.” In recent decades, however, Wheatley’s work has come under new scrutiny as the literature of the eighteenth century and the impact of African American literature have been reconceived. In these never-before-published essays, fourteen prominent Wheatley scholars consider her work from a variety of angles, affirming her rise into the first rank of American writers. The pieces in the first section show that perhaps the most substantial measure of Wheatley’s multilayered texts resides in her deft handling of classical materials. The contributors consider Wheatley’s references to Virgil’s Aeneid and Georgics and to the feminine figure Dido as well as her subversive critique of white readers attracted to her adaptation of familiar classics. They also discuss Wheatley’s use of the Homeric Trojan horse and eighteenth-century verse to mask her ambitions for freedom and her treatment of the classics as political tools. Engaging Wheatley’s multilayered texts with innovative approaches, the essays in the second section recontextualize her rich manuscripts and demonstrate how her late-eighteenth-century works remain both current and timeless. They ponder Wheatley’s verse within the framework of queer theory, the concepts of political theorist Hannah Arendt, rhetoric, African studies, eighteenth-century “salon culture,” and the theoretics of imagination. Together, these essays reveal the depth of Phillis Wheatley’s literary achievement and present concrete evidence that her extant oeuvre merits still further scrutiny.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Title Page, Copyright Page
  2. pp. i-vi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. pp. vii-viii
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. xi-xxvi
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Part I: Examining New Manifestations of Classicism in the Poetics of Phillis Wheatley
  2. pp. 1-2
  1. Phillis Wheatley’s Dido: An Analysis of “An Hymn to Humanity. To S.P.G. Esq.”
  2. pp. 3-18
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. I Remember Mama: Honoring the Goddess-Mother While Denouncing the Slaveowner-God in Phillis Wheatley’s Poetry
  2. pp. 19-34
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. The Interaction of the Classical Traditions of Literature and Politics in the Work of Phillis Wheatley
  2. pp. 35-56
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. The Trojan Horse: Classics, Memory, Transformation, and Afric Ambition in Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral
  2. pp. 57-94
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Empowerment through Classicism in Phillis Wheatley’s “Ode to Neptune”
  2. pp. 95-110
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Phillis Wheatley’s Use of the Georgic
  2. pp. 111-156
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Part II: Placing Phillis Wheatley in Newly Applied Historical Contexts
  2. pp. 157-158
  1. Works of Wonder, Wondering Eyes, and the Wondrous Poet: The Use of Wonder in Phillis Wheatley’s Marvelous Poetics
  2. pp. 159-190
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Queering Phillis Wheatley
  2. pp. 191-208
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Marketing a Sable Muse: Phillis Wheatley and the Antebellum Press
  2. pp. 209-246
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Phillis Wheatley: The Consensual Blackness of Early African American Writing
  2. pp. 247-270
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. The Pan-African and Puritan Dimensions of Phillis Wheatley’s Poems and Letters
  2. pp. 271-294
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. An Untangled Web: Mapping Phillis Wheatley’s Network of Support in America and Great Britain
  2. pp. 295-336
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Phillis Wheatley’s Theoretics of the Imagination: An Untold Chapter in the History of Early American Literary Aesthetics
  2. pp. 337-370
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. To “pursue th’ unbodied mind”: Phillis Wheatley and the Raced Bod yin Early America
  2. pp. 371-396
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Contributors
  2. pp. 397-400
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 401-407
  3. restricted access Download |
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.