Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World

BookFrederick Douglass and the Atlantic World

Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World


June 1st, 2007

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This book takes as its subject the effect of extraterritorial sites - Ireland, Haiti, Egypt - on Frederick Douglass’ writing, self-construction, national, class and racial identity, and status as representative US American man. The most prolific African American writer of the nineteenth century embarked, after his escape from slavery in 1838, on a public career that would span the century and three continents. The narrative of his life in slavery remains a seminal work in the literary and historical canons of the United States, and has recently been included in the corpus of the American Renaissance. Much critical attention has been placed on Douglass’ activities within the United States, his effect on socio-political reform, and relationship to an oppressed and marginalized community of African Americans. Yet much of his literary and political development occurred outside the United States. This innovative book focuses specifically on Douglass’ Atlantic encounters, literal and literary, against the backdrop of slavery, emancipation, and western colonial process. Sweeney’s study will be of interest to those working in the fields of history, literature and cultural studies; to scholars of Douglass; those interested in American and Irish Studies, Black Atlantic studies and postcolonialism; and those engaged in critical work on the literary and historical implications of the United States as empire.

Author Information

Fionnghuala Sweeney is Director of a course on Comparative American Studies at the Institute of Latin American Studies, University of Liverpool. Her research interests are US and black Atlantic literature of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries focusing on the literary exchanges and interactions between the United States, the Caribbean and Ireland.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Section TitlePagePrice
Title Page3
Introduction: Frederick Douglass and the Atlantic World7
1: ‘The Republic of Letters’: Frederick Douglass, Ireland and the Irish Narratives19
2: Friends and Allies: The Economics of the Text43
3: An American Slave: Representing the Creole Self60
4: The Hidden Ireland: Social Commentary and Public Witness76
5: ‘Mask in Motion’: Dialect Spaces and Class Representation100
6: Race, Civilization, Empire144
7: Models of Progress: Ireland, Haiti and the Atlantic169