A year prior in 1772, Susanna attempted to publish Phillis’ work in Boston. Carretta also notes that Wheatley was the first colonial woman of any race to have a frontispiece attached to her writing and that the use of such an image of a living author was uncommon in the eighteenth century. Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2011), pp. Ring in the new year with a Britannica Membership, This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/biography/Phillis-Wheatley, National Women's History Museum - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Public Broadcasting Service - Africans in America - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Academy of American Poets - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Poetry Foundation - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Social Studies for Kids - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, BlackPast - Biography of Phillis Wheatley, Phillis Wheatley - Children's Encyclopedia (Ages 8-11), Phillis Wheatley - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up), Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, “On Being Brought from Africa to America”, “An Elegiac Poem, on the Death of the Celebrated Divine…George Whitefield”, “Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral”. Updates? Her emphasis on the importance of these three faiths recurs throughout her 18 extant elegies. The young girl who was to become Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and taken to Boston on a slave ship in 1761 and purchased by a tailor, John Wheatley, as a personal servant for his wife, Susanna. Some view our sable race with scornful eye, “Their colour is a diabolic die.” Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain, May be refined, and join th’ angelic train.”. Phillis Wheatley gained transatlantic recognition with her 1770 elegy on the death of the evangelist George Whitefield, which she addressed and sent to his English patron, the Countess of Huntingdon. South Carolina passed an act in 1740 prohibiting the literacy of slaves, calling it a “great inconvenience” for whites. Two "Disapora Subjectivity and Transatlantic Crossings: Phillis Wheatley's Poetics of Recovery" and Chap. She was born in Africa and taken by slave ship to America when she was about seven years old. Her poetry revealed much about colonial society in eighteenth century New England and its hierarchal relationships. There were few prospects available to freed African people in colonial New England. The keyword Phillis Wheatley is tagged in the following 1 articles. The book sold very well in America and England, and had eleven editions printed between 1773 and 1838. Phillis Wheatley, one of America’s most profound writers, has contributed greatly to American literature, not only as a writer, but as an African American woman, who has influenced many African Americans by enriching their knowledge of and exposure to their Negro heritage and Negro literature. Phillis Wheatley ( Senegal o Gambia, 8 maggio 1753 – Boston, 5 dicembre 1784) è stata una poetessa statunitense di origine africana. Biography of Phillis Wheatley. 4One poem in which Wheatley divulges rare negative thoughts on her enslavement is in “To The Right Honorable William, Earl of Dartmouth,” in which she describes her capture: I, young in life, by seeming cruel fate was snatched from Afric’s fancied happy seat: What pants excruciating must molest What sorrows labor in my parent’s breast! This essay examines the means by which African American poet Phillis Wheatley uses her evangelical Christianity to engage issues of race in revolutionary America. She was enslaved as a child of seven or eight and sold in Boston to John and Susanna Wheatley on 11 July 1761. How well the Cry for Liberty, and the reverse Disposition for the exercise of oppressive Power over others agree, —, I humbly think it does not require the Penetration of a Philosopher to determine.” 7. Born in about 1753, perhaps in present-day Senegal, the girl who was to become Phillis Wheatley was kidnapped and placed aboard a slave ship bound for Boston, Massachusetts, when she was seven or eight years old. She returned to Boston in September because of the illness of her mistress. By 1772 Wheatley had written enough poems so that she could attempt to capitalize on her growing transatlantic reputation by producing a book of previously published and new poems. In her poetry and other writings, she addresses and even instructs white men of privilege on the spiritual equality of people of African descent. 12. Phillis Weatley was an African American slave brought from Africa to America with no rights but with a massive talent for the Comprehension of English. Phillis Wheatley's Journey. Twenty of her fifty five poems were elegies like the one above, elegant mourning poems whose purpose was to comfort the loved ones of the deceased, and by Phillis’ hand, they often featured the drudgery of mortal life being compared to the happiness of going to heaven, as well as a God that was “benevolent, just, and merciful,“ accepting of Africans in ways that whites on earth were not. In his latest book, Phillis Wheatley: Biography of a Genius in Bondage, Carretta explores the life and work of a leading African American poet. But in 2003, I read an article by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. in The New Yorkerentitled “Phillis Wheatley on Trial,” an excerpt from his full-length The Trials of Phillis Wheatley, which addresses Wheatley’s early life and times and the reception of her only book, Poems on … 2009, Vol. Phillis Wheatley was the first African American to write a book. The first African American to publish a book on any subject, poet Phillis Wheatley (1753?–1784) has long been denigrated by literary critics who refused to believe that a black woman could produce such dense, intellectual work, let alone influence Romantic-period giants like Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Several local newspapers reported her death, but the names of the friends and family who attended her funeral went unreported. Starting in the 1960s, with the recognition of African American history as a distinct field of study, scholars like Eleanor Smith, a professor of African-American Studies at the University of Cincinnati, claim Wheatley “had a misconception of her real relationship to white society” which gave Wheatley “a false sense of security which she accepted graciously.” 5 Saunders Redding, a former English professor at Brown University, describes Wheatley’s poetry as devoid of personality or emotion, and views Phillis’ ignoring of her race as giving her poetry a “negative, bloodless, unracial quality.” He saw Wheatley as a “spirit-denying-the-flesh” in refusing to talk about her slave status in her poetry, and missing a prime opportunity to share her experiences with the white public, as Olaudah Equiano did in his widely read autobiography, An Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano. One of her first poems to gain renown in both England and America was an elegy of George Whitefield. Her first book, Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral, where many of her poems first saw print, was published there the same year. Phillis Wheatley and her last child died in Boston on December 5, 1784. Phillis Wheatley Paragraph 1 For the poet Philips Whitely, who was brought to colonial New England as a slave in 1761, the formal literary code of eighteenth-century English was thrice removed: by the initial barrier of the unfamiliar English language, by the discrepancy between spoken and literary forms of English, and by the African tradition of oral rather than written verbal art. Wheatley, Phillis (1753–05 December 1784), poet and cultivator of the epistolary writing style, was born in Gambia, Africa, probably along the fertile low lands of the Gambia River.She was enslaved as a child of seven or eight and sold in Boston to John and Susanna Wheatley on 11 July 1761. 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