32. Talking Book: Early Africana Writing in English

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Eighteenth century black authors touch on philosophical themes in autobiographical narratives, poetry, and other literary genres.



Further Reading

• W.L. Andrews, To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography (Urbana: 1986).

• A.D. Austin, African Muslims in Antebellum America: Transatlantic Stories and Spiritual Struggles (New York: 1997).
• J. Brooks, American Lazarus: Religion and the Rise of African-American and Native American Literatures (New York: 2003).
• J. Brooks and J. Sailliant (eds),“Face Zion Forward”: First Writers of the Black Atlantic, 1785-1798 (Boston: 2002).
• D.D. Bruce Jr, The Origins of African American Literature, 1680-1865 (Charlottesville: 2001).  
• V. Carretta (ed.), Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the 18th Century (Lexington: 1996).
• V. Carretta and P. Gould (eds), Genius in Bondage: Literature of the Early Black Atlantic (Lexington: 2001).
• H.L. Gates Jr, The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism (New York: 1988).
• R. Hanley, Beyond Slavery and Abolition: Black British Writing, c. 1770-1830 (Cambridge: 2019).
• J. Harris, “Seeing the Light: Re-Reading James Albert Ukawsaw Gronniosaw,” English Language Notes 42 (2005), 43-57.
• C. May, "John Marrant and the Narrative Construction of an Early Black Methodist Evangelical," African American Review 38 (2004): 553-70.
• C. May (ed.), Jupiter Hammon: the Collected Works (Knoxville: 2017).
• A. Potkay and S. Burr (eds), Black Atlantic Writers of the Eighteenth Century: Living the New Exodus in England and the Americas (New York: 1995).
• S.A. O’Neale, Jupiter Hammon and the Biblical Beginnings of African American Literature (Metuchen: 1993).


12 December 2023 on 12 December 2023

Being Black

"I opened it and put my ears down close upon it, in great hopes that it would say something to me; but was very sorry, and greatly disappointed when I found it would not speak, this thought immediately presented itself to me, that everybody and everything despised me because I was black."

I first came across this passage in the notes to Olaudah Equiano's book. I thought it was one of the saddest things I'd ever read. 

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