Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography

Overview

The only edition of the celebrated Autobiography that includes the long-missing and recently identified “Wagon Letters.”
Written during the most eventful years of Benjamin Franklin's life (1771–90), the Autobiography is one of the most influential memoirs in history. This newly edited Norton Critical Edition includes an introduction that explains the history of the Autobiography within the larger history of the life-writing genre as well as within the history of celebrity. The ...

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Overview

The only edition of the celebrated Autobiography that includes the long-missing and recently identified “Wagon Letters.”
Written during the most eventful years of Benjamin Franklin's life (1771–90), the Autobiography is one of the most influential memoirs in history. This newly edited Norton Critical Edition includes an introduction that explains the history of the Autobiography within the larger history of the life-writing genre as well as within the history of celebrity. The text is accompanied by new and expanded explanatory annotations and by a map, an illustration, and six facsimiles.
“Contexts” presents a broader view of Franklin’s life with a journal entry from a 1726 voyage, correspondence, a Poor Richard piece on ambition and fame, Franklin’s views on self-improvement, and his last will (and codicil).
“Criticism” draws on a wealth of material that reflects both the wide range of Franklin’s achievements and the global impact of his life and memoirs. New international voices in “Contemporary Opinions” include Immanuel Kant, Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau, José Antonio de Alzate y Ramírez, and José Francisco Correia da Serra. “Nineteenth-Century Opinions” includes Humphry Davy on Franklin’s discovery of electricity as well as Empress Shoken of Japan’s Franklin-inspired poem. Finally, “Modern Opinions” reprints important pieces: I. B. Cohen on Franklin and the Autobiography's importance to science; Michael Warner’s theoretical interpretation of the practices of writing and printing and what they tell us about Franklin; and Peter Stallybrass’s insightful and engaging history-of-the-book perspective on Franklin’s writing generally and the Autobiography specifically.
A Chronology of Franklin’s life, a Selected Bibliography, and an Index are also included.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393935615
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/16/2012
  • Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 248,193
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Franklin was a writer, inventor, political theorist, diplomat, and Founding Father of the United States. He wrote under the pen name of Poor Richard from 1732 to 1757.

Joyce E. Chaplin is James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University. She has taught at five different universities on two continents and an island and in a maritime studies program in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. She is the author of An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730–1815 (1993), Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500–1676 (2001), The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), and Benjamin Franklin’s Political Arithmetic: A Materialist View of Humanity (2009).

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