Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt
Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: Duquesne University Press
Title page, Editor page, Copyright, Dedication
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The journey from dissertation to book has not been a solitary endeavor. For this reason, it is fitting that I publicly thank and acknowledge everyone who has supported me in multiple ways along this journey. Through their support, I have gained a deeper...
1. Making “Darkness Visible”: Milton and Early African American Literature
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Ever since Phillis Wheatley published Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral in 1773, there has been a need for theorizing the Word that governs African Americans’ receptions of John Milton. That need has intensified for more than two and a half centuries...
2. Phillis Wheatley’s Miltonic Journeys in Poems on Various Subjects
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Wheatley ruptured literary history by disturbing the demonic grounds of Miltonic interpretation. It was she who first sang and published a collection of verse in the African American literary tradition by allusively echoing the words of John Milton to significant...
3. Black Audio-Visionaries and the Rise of Miltonic Influence in Colonial America and the Early Republic
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The journey out of hell and up to a marvelous light of freedom in early African American literature continued to complete and complicate Milton well beyond the publication of Wheatley’s Poems. As early as 1788, a writer adopting the name Othello published...
4. Of Might and Men: Milton, Frederick Douglass, and Resistant Masculinity as Existential Geography
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With the publication of Walker’s Appeal to the Colored Citizens of the World, 1829 proved to be an acceptable year for preaching the gospel of Milton in furtherance of the antislavery cause.1 With its satanic appropriations of Paradise Lost and Milton’s hyperbolic...
5. Breaking New Grounds with Milton in Frances Ellen Watkins Harper’s Moses: A Story of the Nile
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While a militant ministry of “self-made men” preached Milton’s satanic epic as a symbolic expression of resistant black masculinity, a collective of “self-invented women” labored in the vineyard of racial and social uplift, operating in the spirit of a tempered assertiveness...
6. Miltonic Soundscapes in Anna Julia Cooper’s A Voice from the South
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In keeping with the proto-womanist spirit of tempered assertiveness, Anna Julia Cooper, another prominent member of Milton’s black sisterhood, performs a series of rebellious vocal exercises with Milton in her 1892 publication, A Voice from the...
7. Returning to Milton’s Hell with Weapons of Perfect Passivity in Sutton E. Griggs’s Imperium in Imperio
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In 1899, the last year of what is known as the long nineteenth century, Sutton E. Griggs brought the tradition of early African American engagement with Milton to a fitting satanic close. His novel, Imperium in Imperio, or State within a State, focuses on...
Epilogue: Malcolm X, Paradise Lost, and the Twentieth Century Infernal Reader
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Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt originated from my awareness of my status as an “outside” reader. Upon reading Paradise Lost, it did not take long for my lived experiences as an African American to begin informing my responses to the poem. Specifically...
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Page Count: 340
Publication Year: 2014