This book takes as its subject the effect of extraterritorial sites - Ireland, Haiti, Egypt - on Frederick Douglass’ writing, self-construction, national, class and racial identity, and status as representative US American man. The most prolific African American writer of the nineteenth century embarked, after his escape from slavery in 1838, on a public career that would span the century and three continents. The narrative of his life in slavery remains a seminal work in the literary and historical canons of the United States, and has recently been included in the corpus of the American Renaissance. Much critical attention has been placed on Douglass’ activities within the United States, his effect on socio-political reform, and relationship to an oppressed and marginalized community of African Americans. Yet much of his literary and political development occurred outside the United States. This innovative book focuses specifically on Douglass’ Atlantic encounters, literal and literary, against the backdrop of slavery, emancipation, and western colonial process. Sweeney’s study will be of interest to those working in the fields of history, literature and cultural studies; to scholars of Douglass; those interested in American and Irish Studies, Black Atlantic studies and postcolonialism; and those engaged in critical work on the literary and historical implications of the United States as empire.
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