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The odyssey of Phillis Wheatley : a poet's journeys through American slavery and independence / David Waldstreicher.

Available copies

  • 1 of 1 copy available at LARL/NWRL Consortium.
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Lake Agassiz Regional Library. (Show preferred library)

Current holds

0 current holds with 1 total copy.

Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Detroit Lakes Public Library 921 WHE (Text) 33500013760103 New Available -

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780809098248
  • ISBN: 0809098245
  • Physical Description: viii, 480 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, portraits ; 24 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2023.

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
The Beginnings, The Table, The Tale -- The Ship, The Trade, The Wars -- The Town, The Families, The Youth -- The Teachers -- The Preachers -- The Monarch, The Poets, The Subjects, The Enslaved -- The Nations -- The Occupation -- The Friends -- The Women -- The Proposal -- The Movement -- The Moment -- The Campaign -- The Metropolis -- The Emancipation -- The Patrons -- The Book -- The Readers -- The Barbarians -- The Americans -- The Free -- The Ends -- The Afterlives.
Summary, etc.:
"A paradigm-shattering biography of Phillis Wheatley, whose poetry was at the heart of the American Revolution"-- Provided by publisher.
"Admired by George Washington, ridiculed by Thomas Jefferson, published in London, and read far and wide, Phillis Wheatley led one of the most extraordinary American lives. Seized in West Africa and forced into slavery as a child, she was sold to a merchant family in Boston, where she became a noted poet at a young age. Mastering the Bible, Greek and Latin translations, and the works of Pope and Milton, she composed elegies for local elites, celebrated political events, praised warriors, and used her verse to variously lampoon, question, and assert the injustice of her enslaved condition. 'Can I then but pray / Others may never feel tyrannic sway?' By doing so, she added her voice to a vibrant, multisided conversation about race, slavery, and discontent with British rule; before and after her emancipation, her verses shook up racial etiquette and used familiar forms to create bold new meanings. She demonstrated a complex but crucial fact of the times: that the American Revolution both strengthened and limited Black slavery. In this new biography, the historian David Waldstreicher offers the fullest account to date of Wheatley's life and works, correcting myths, reconstructing intimate friendships, and deepening our understanding of her verse and the revolutionary era. Throughout The Odyssey of Phillis Wheatley, he demonstrates the continued vitality and resonance of a woman who wrote, in a founding gesture of American literature, 'Thy Power, O Liberty, makes strong the weak / And (wond'rous instinct) Ethiopians speak'." -- From publisher's description.

  • Booklist Reviews : Booklist Reviews 2023 February #1
    *Starred Review* Stolen from her African family as a girl; forced onto the slave ship Phillis, and purchased in 1761 by the Wheatley family in Boston, prodigy-poet Phillis Wheatley launched a complexly creative and courageous life of strategic dissent that has never before been so fully illuminated. Nor has Wheatley's poetry been fully appreciated for its nuanced response to the epic moral and political battles of her revolutionary time. Historian Waldstreicher zestfully establishes an intricately detailed context for his in-depth analysis of Wheatley's experiences and writings, from her relationship with the family who supported her literary ambitions and controlled her life to her interactions with the most powerful figures in America and England and triumphant London visit upon publication of her first book. Waldstreicher's use of "odyssey" reflects both Wheatley's journey and fluency in Homer and other poets from Horace to Milton and Pope. Waldstreicher's fresh readings of her poems and letters explore her literary adeptness, political savvy, cutting irony, and antislavery arguments. He traces the delicate balancing act Wheatley elegantly performed as an enslaved person (until her 1773 emancipation) and public figure whose poems served as sophisticated, lyric op-eds on the toxic hypocrisy of the colonists' enslaving Africans while demanding freedom from British tyranny. With extensive notes and appendices, Waldstreicher's engrossing restorative biography makes one hope for a Hamilton-style celebration of Wheatley's profound quest. Copyright 2023 Booklist Reviews.

Author Notes

David Waldstreicher teaches history at the City University of New York Graduate Center and is the author of Slavery’s Constitution: From Revolution to Ratification and Runaway America: Benjamin Franklin, Slavery, and the American Revolution. He has written for The New York Times Book Review, Boston Review, and The Atlantic, among other publications.

Subject: Wheatley, Phillis, 1753-1784.
African American women poets > Biography.
Poets, American > Colonial period, ca. 1600-1775 > Biography.
Slaves > United States > Biography.
African American poets > Biography.
Genre: Biographies.

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