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Complete Writings by Phillis Wheatley. New York. 2001. Penguin Books. Edited & With An Introduction and Notes By Vincent Carretta. 9780140424300, 224 pages. Cover art - engraving of Phillis Wheatley, reproduced from 'Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral', London.

9780140424300FROM THE PUBLISHER -

   Destined to become the first published woman of African descent, Phillis Wheatley was born around 1753. She was taken by the slave ship PHILLIS to Boston in 1761 and bought by John and Susanna Wheatley. The Wheatleys provided her with an education that was unusual for a woman of the time and astonishing for a slave. Phillis published her first poem in 1767, around the age of fourteen, and won much public attention and considerable international fam before she was twenty years old. ‘Vincent Carretta’s edition of the works of Phillis Wheatley is the definitive collection of her work. Expertly edited, it is a masterpiece of textual scholarship. ’ – Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Wheatley Phillis

Phillis Wheatley (c. 1753 – December 5, 1784) was both the second published African-American poet and first published African-American woman. Born in West Africa, she was sold into slavery at the age of seven and transported to North America. She was purchased by the Wheatley family of Boston, who taught her to read and write, and encouraged her poetry when they saw her talent. The publication of her Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral (1773) brought her fame both in England and the American colonies; figures such as George Washington praised her work. During Wheatley's visit to England with her master's son, the African-American poet Jupiter Hammon praised her work in his own poem. Wheatley was emancipated after the death of her master John Wheatley. She married soon after. Two of her children died as infants. After her husband was imprisoned for debt in 1784, Wheatley fell into poverty and died of illness, quickly followed by the death of her surviving infant son.

 

 

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