Douglass: Autobiographies

Hardcover | February 16, 1999

byFrederick DouglassEditorHenry Louis Gates

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the only authoritative edition of all three autobiographies by the escaped slave who became a great American leader.

Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in this Library of America volume are collected his three autobiographical narratives, 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 the abolition of slavery and equal rights, Douglass shapes an inspiring vision of self-realization in the face of monumental odds.

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, 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 slave years. With astonishing psychological penetration, he probes the painful ambiguities and subtly corrosive effects of black-white relations under slavery, then goes on to recount his determined resistance to segregation in the North. The book also incorporates extracts from Douglass’s 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’s 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 all feature 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’s 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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From Our Editors

Born in slavery, Douglass, educated himself, escaped, and became one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in one volume are his three autobiographical narratives: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845); My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); and Life and Times (1881)

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Henry Louis Gates, Jr. presents the only authoritative edition of all three autobiographies by the escaped slave who became a great American leader.Born a slave, Frederick Douglass educated himself, escaped, and made himself one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in this Library of America volume are collected his three ...

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, Du...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:1100 pages, 8.16 × 5.13 × 1.5 inPublished:February 16, 1999Publisher:Library of AmericaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0940450798

ISBN - 13:9780940450790

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From Our Editors

Born in slavery, Douglass, educated himself, escaped, and became one of the greatest leaders in American history. Here in one volume are his three autobiographical narratives: Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself (1845); My Bondage and My Freedom (1855); and Life and Times (1881)