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Frederick Douglass (September 2018): Literary Theory

By Duncan R. Jamieson

Literary Theory

Professor of English Eric J. Sundquist is editor of Frederick Douglass: New Literary and Historical Essays. Fourteen pieces examine Douglass as a symbolic and historic figure through themes including gender, slavery, freedom, politics, and literacy. William W. Cook and James Tatum, authors of African American Writers and Classical Tradition, examine the classical influences on African American writers and the “studied simplicity” of Douglass. Two books by William L. Andrews, English, University of North Carolina, include To Tell a Free Story, in which he uses literary theory to detect the time at which Douglass could write, free from white interpretation or control. The 1855 My Bondage and My Freedom is such a book, as opposed to the 1845 Narrative. Andrews’s edited Critical Essays on Frederick Douglass includes reviews of the three autobiographies in addition to essays on the African American narrative tradition, identity and art, radicals and conservatives, and storytelling.

Works Cited