Discarded Legacy: Politics and Poetics in the Life of Frances E. W. Harper, 1825-1911

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $1.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 90%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $1.99   
  • New (1) from $17.98   
  • Used (6) from $1.99   
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:



New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

In essence, she has written a "bio-critical study," a very personal account of a poet representing and presenting a poet.

Ships from: Portage, MI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Sort by


Frances E. W. Harper is a central figure in the history of nineteenth- and twentieth-century African-American literature and intellectual thought. The foremost poet of the "free colored community," she was also a lecturer,

educator, essayist, and novelist. A prolific champion of the abolitionist and feminist causes, she has come to be recognized for the critical role she played in the rise of the women's movement, particularly in the development of the black women's movement. Yet neither her art nor her political insight was preserved by subsequent generations until recently.

In this important study, poet Melba Joyce Boyd analyzes Harper not simply as a feminist and an activist, but as a writer. Boyd reads her in context, placing Harper's life, poetry, novels, and speeches within the nineteenth century African-American quest for

"freedom and literacy."

Harper's genius is illuminated as Boyd traces her radicalism through her struggles with issues of race, gender, and class, and the other personal and social injustices she

confronted. Discarded Legacy comprises three parts: "The Abolitionist Years," "The Pursuit of the Promised Land," and "The Woman's Era." These divisions characterize the thrust of the historical periods which encompass Harper's lifetime and the thematic

focus of her writings. Though Harper's primary political emphasis is on slavery and the Reconstruction, she sustains a strong feminist voice throughout these times and in all of her writings. Likewise, during the women's era, she maintains an anti-racist stance and strongly criticizes racism in white

feminist politics.

Boyd's response to Harper's work is interactive and improvisational, and whenever possible, she maintains Harper's voice, allowing her to speak about her own work. When analyzing Harper's language, Boyd provides insight into Harper's aesthetic by

discussing the writings thematically and structurally within a biographical framework. Finally, by examining Harper's use of traditional poetic techniques, language, oral tradition forms, and other tools, Boyd

demonstrates how Harper's art and politics are synthesized into a dynamic whole.

This book weaves Harper's radical vision with the intuitive and analytical dimensions of her imagination and language. Through perceptive explication of Harper's writings and

consideration of her thematic inclinations and political and social affiliations, Boyd is able to show how Harper crafted her subjects and how the literature and speeches interrelated

in theme and historical experience. Boyd has successfully arranged Harper's work in a manner that connects our present to Harper's past and that re-envisions her consciousness.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this study of lecturer, educator, poet, essayist, novelist, and abolitionist Harper, Boyd (The Inventory of Black Roses, Past Tents Pr., 1989) offers a literal exhibition of the perils that still adversely affect the security, prosperity, and expectations of African Americans in the United States today. Harper spoke with subtlety of the overwhelming injustices perpetrated against African Americans of her time and her concerns for the future. Organized around publications of Harper's poetry, speeches, or letters, the book is divided into three parts: ``The Abolitionist Years,'' ``The Pursuit of the Promised Land,'' and ``The Women's Era.'' Highly recommended for all those who appreciate unearthed history and current works on blacks and the Reconstruction era.-Gayle S. Leach, Prince George Cty. Memorial Lib. System, Largo, Md.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814324899
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1994
  • Series: African American Life Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 260
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

Melba Joyce Boyd is an associate professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Wayne State University and an adjunct associate professor at the Center for Afroamerican and African Studies at the University of Michigan, where she received her Doctor of Arts degree. She is the author of The Inventory of Black Roses and three other books of poetry.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 8
Prelude 10
Introduction: Discarded Legacy 11
Ch. 1 Orphaned and Exiled 33
Ch. 2 'Neath Sheltering Vines and Stately Palms: The Radical Vision of Frances Ellen Watkins Harper 56
Ch. 3 Mosaic Legacy: Frances Harper and the Afroamerican Quest for the Promised Land 79
Ch. 4 The Legacy of the Daughters of Ishmael: To Be Black and Female 113
Ch. 5 The Dialectics of Dialect Poetry: Frances Harper's Sketches of Southern Life 147
Ch. 6 Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted: A Novel by a Black Nazarene 169
Ch. 7 Frances E. W. Harper and the Legacy of Black Feminism 197
Ch. 8 Retrieval of a Legacy 228
Notes 239
Bibliography 247
Bibliography: Frances E. W. Harper 255
Index 257
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)