Martin R. Delany: A Documentary Reader

Univ of North Carolina Press
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Martin R. Delany (1812-85) has been called the "Father of Black Nationalism," but his extraordinary career also encompassed the roles of abolitionist, physician, editor, explorer, politician, army officer, novelist, and political theorist. Despite his enormous influence in the nineteenth century, and his continuing influence on black nationalist thought in the twentieth century, Delany has remained a relatively obscure figure in U.S. culture, generally portrayed as a radical separatist at odds with the more integrationist Frederick Douglass.

This pioneering documentary collection offers readers a chance to discover, or rediscover, Delany in all his complexity. Through nearly 100 documents--approximately two-thirds of which have not been reprinted since their initial nineteenth-century publications--it traces the full sweep of his fascinating career. Included are selections from Delany's early journalism, his emigrationist writings of the 1850s, his 1859-62 novel, Blake (one of the first African American novels published in the United States), and his later writings on Reconstruction. Incisive and shrewd, angry and witty, Delany's words influenced key nineteenth-century debates on race and nation, addressing issues that remain pressing in our own time.

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About the author

Robert S. Levine is professor of English and director of graduate studies at the University of Maryland, College Park. His books include Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of North Carolina Press
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Published on
Nov 20, 2003
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Pages
520
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ISBN
9780807862568
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
History / United States / 19th Century
Literary Criticism / American / African American
Social Science / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
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This content is DRM protected.
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Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) and Herman Melville (1819-1891) addressed in their writings a range of issues that continue to resonate in American culture: the reach and limits of democracy; the nature of freedom; the roles of race, gender, and sexuality; and the place of the United States in the world. Yet they are rarely discussed together, perhaps because of their differences in race and social position. Douglass escaped from slavery and tied his well-received nonfiction writing to political activism, becoming a figure of international prominence. Melville was the grandson of Revolutionary War heroes and addressed urgent issues through fiction and poetry, laboring in increasing obscurity.

In eighteen original essays, the contributors to this collection explore the convergences and divergences of these two extraordinary literary lives. Developing new perspectives on literature, biography, race, gender, and politics, this volume ultimately raises questions that help rewrite the color line in nineteenth-century studies.

Contributors:
Elizabeth Barnes, College of William and Mary
Hester Blum, The Pennsylvania State University
Russ Castronovo, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Ernest, West Virginia University
William Gleason, Princeton University
Gregory Jay, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Carolyn L. Karcher, Washington, D.C.
Rodrigo Lazo, University of California, Irvine
Maurice S. Lee, Boston University
Robert S. Levine, University of Maryland, College Park
Steven Mailloux, University of California, Irvine
Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University
Samuel Otter, University of California, Berkeley
John Stauffer, Harvard University
Sterling Stuckey, University of California, Riverside
Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles
Elisa Tamarkin, University of California, Irvine
Susan M. Ryan, University of Louisville
David Van Leer, University of California, Davis
Maurice Wallace, Duke University
Robert K. Wallace, Northern Kentucky University
Kenneth W. Warren, University of Chicago



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