Autobiographies

Front Cover
Library of America, 1994 - Biography & Autobiography - 1126 pages
12 Reviews
Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. His three autobiographical narratives, collected here in one volume, are 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 abolition and equal rights, Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, 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 slavery years. With astonishing psychological penetration, he probes the painful ambiguities and subtly corrosive effects of black-white relations under slavery; and goes on to account his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglass' 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 Douglass' 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 are all featured 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 Douglass' life, notes providing further background on the events and people mentioned, and an account of the textual history of each of the autobiographies.
 

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Review: Autobiographies (The Autobiographies #1-3)

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Very Educational & Excellent Book! Read full review

Review: Autobiographies (The Autobiographies #1-3)

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I saw 12 Years a Slave and was moved to read this as a kind of compendium to the movie. The narrative is only a bit over 100 pages but is so remarkable, both in style and substance, that it blew me ... Read full review

Contents

NARRATIVE OF THE LIFE OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
1
MY BONDAGE AND MY FREEDOM
103
INTRODUCTION
125
CHAPTER I
139
CHAPTER II
146
Brutal Outrage on my Aunt Milly by a drunken Overseer
173
Conclusions at which he Arrived
179
Food and Clothing of the Slaves
185
Conflict of Hopes and FearsIgnorance of Geography 510
303
Danger of DiscoverDifficulty of Concealment
306
Passes EatenThe Examination at St Michaels
320
CHAPTER XX
326
LIBERTY ATTAINED
349
Contrast between the North and the South
355
First Acquaintance with the Liberator
362
Becomes a Public Lecturer
364

Beams of Sunlight
206
Kindness of my new MistressLittle Tommy
212
Increased Determination to Learn
218
pursued my EducationMy Tutors
221
Knowledge ever IncreasingMy Eyes Opened
227
New Hopes and Aspirations
233
Sad Prospects and Grief
239
Return to BaltimoreDeath of Mistress Lucretia
240
Allowance of FoodSufferings from Hunger
246
No more Meal brought from the MillMethodist
252
Escape to St MichaelsSuffering in the Woods
273
An AlarmA Friend not an Enemy
279
Coveys Ineffectual Commands for Assistance
285
A Device of Slavery
288
The Reverend Rigby Hopkins
294
Affectionate Relations of Master and Pupils
300
CHAPTER XXIV
370
Time and Labors Abroad
376
Agitation of the Slavery Question
382
Dr Cunninghams SpeechA Striking Incident
384
Motives for going to Rochester
391
Elevation of the Free People of ColorPledge for
398
Letter to his Old Master
412
The Nature of Slavery
419
Inhumanity of Slaver
425
LIFE AND TIMES OF FREDERICK DOUGLASS
453
CHAPTER I
475
CHAPTER III
482
Chronology
1049
Note on the Texts
1078
Index
1109
Copyright

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About the author (1994)

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 andThe Future of the Race. He is also the editor of the critically-acclaimed edition of Our Nig, an annotated reprint of Harriet E. Wilson's 1859 novel,The Slave's Narrative (with the late Charles T. Davis), Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience, Six Women's Slave Narratives, andIn the House of Oshugbo: Critical Essays on Wole Soyinka. He is a recipient of the MacArthur Prize.

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