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Phillis Wheatley : biography of a genius in bondage
    Carretta, Vincent.
Publisher: University of Georgia Press,
Pub date: c2011.
Pages: xiv, 279 p., [22] p. of plates :
ISBN: 9780820333380
Item info: 1 copy available at Elmira - Central (Steele) Library.
Elmira - Central (Steele) Library Copies Material Location
BW557 1 Adult NonFiction Book Biography

With Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773), Phillis Wheatley (1753?-1784) became the first English-speaking person of African descent to publish a book and only the second woman--of any race or background-- to do so in America. Written in Boston while she was just a teenager, and when she was still a slave, Wheatley's work was an international sensation. In Phillis Wheatley , Vincent Carretta offers the first full-length biography of a figure whose origins and later life have remained shadowy despite her iconic status.

A scholar with extensive knowledge of transatlantic literature and history, Carretta uncovers new details about Wheatley's origins, her upbringing, and how she gained freedom. Carretta solves the mystery of John Peters, correcting the record of when he and Wheatley married and revealing what became of him after her death. Assessing Wheatley's entire body of work, Carretta discusses the likely role she played in the production, marketĀ­ing, and distribution of her writing. Wheatley developed a remarkable transatlantic network that transcended racial, class, political, religious, and geographical boundaries. Carretta reconstructs that network and sheds new light on her religious and political identities. In the course of his research he discovered the earliest poem attributable to Wheatley and has included it and other unpublished poems in the biography.

Carretta relocates Wheatley from the margins to the center of her eighteenth-century transatlantic world, revealing the fascinating life of a woman who rose from the indignity of enslavement to earn wide recognition, only to die in obscurity a few years later.

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Publishers Weekly Review
In this first full-length biography of "the mother of African-American literature," Carretta (Equiano, the African) offers a thoroughly readable, fully scholarly life of Wheatley (c. 1761-1784). Precise data about the roughly seven-year-old child, born in Senegal and transported into slavery in Massachusetts, who became a "pioneer of American and African literature," is hard to come by, but this is a satisfying study of the "elusive" Wheatley, fleshed out with succinct, discerning readings of the body of her work, from a recently discovered poem composed when she was about 11 to her last known work. Carretta unveils the truly remarkable figure Wheatley was, as a highly literate, woman in colonial America, and, through a detailed assessment of her revisions and her correspondence, as the highly conscious poet she became. Especially noteworthy is the book's attentiveness to Wheatley's involvement in the production and promotion of her book, the contemporary responses to her work, and an unprecedented account of her marriage to the debt-ridden John Peters, whose death forced her into domestic service. That some of Carretta's analyses and conjectures may spark debate only adds to the liveliness of his worthy, welcome biography. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
Library Journal Review
Which carefully analyzes the poems while uncovering new material about Wheatley's life, tells us a lot more. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. From: Reed Elsevier Inc. Copyright Reed Business Information
Marking "the 250th anniversary of Wheatley's arrival in Boston from Africa," Carretta (Univ. of Maryland) has written what he claims is the first full-length biography of Wheatley (1753-84), "the first person of African descent in the Americas to publish a book." Carretta's ultimate purpose in writing the study is to "reconstruct the religious and political contexts within and about which she often wrote." The penultimate purpose is "to fill in the significant gaps of her short life," a life that until now, the author writes, "has remained a mystery." In seven chapters, Carretta addresses various aspects of Wheatley's life and writings. He seeks to deduce her origin: from which African country did she hail? He tries to show how she, an African writing in the 18th century, gained "transatlantic fame." Finally, he pronounces her an innovator and not an imitator. Carretta's final wish for this volume is that it bring Wheatley "the recognition and status she deserves as a heroic figure in an age of heroes." Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty; general readers. R. A. Bess Morris College From: Syndetics Solutions, Inc. Distributed by Syndetic Solutions, Inc.
Author Biography
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Childrens Literature Comprehensive Database Review

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Leader am8a
key ocn719714733
Data source OCoLC
Fixed field data 110429s2011 gau b s001 0beng
LCCN 2011016374
ISBN 9780820333380 (cloth : alk. paper)
ISBN 0820333387 (cloth : alk. paper)
Cataloging Source DLC DLC YDXCP IAD IK2
Geographic Area Code n-us---
LC Call Number PS866.W5 Z5827 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification Number 811/.1 B 22
Personal Author Carretta, Vincent.
Title Phillis Wheatley : biography of a genius in bondage / Vincent Carretta.
Publication info Athens : University of Georgia Press, c2011.
Projected pub date 1112
Physical description xiv, 279 p., [22] p. of plates : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
Bibliography note Includes bibliographical references and index.
Contents "On being brought from Africa to America" -- "Thoughts on the works of Providence" -- "I prefer the verse" -- "A wonder of the age indeed!" -- "A farewell to America" -- "Now upon my own footing" -- "An elegy on leaving".
Personal subject Wheatley, Phillis, 1753-1784.
Subject term African American women poets--Biography.
Subject term Poets, American--Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775--Biography.
Subject term Slaves--Biography.
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