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Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity

Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity

by Robert S. Levine
Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity

Martin Delany, Frederick Douglass, and the Politics of Representative Identity

by Robert S. Levine

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The differences between Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany have historically been reduced to a simple binary pronouncement: assimilationist versus separatist. Now Robert S. Levine restores the relationship of these two important nineteenth-century African American writers to its original complexity. He explores their debates over issues like abolitionism, emigration, and nationalism, illuminating each man's influence on the other's political vision. He also examines Delany and Douglass's debates in relation to their own writings and to the work of Harriet Beecher Stowe. Though each saw himself as the single best representative of his race, Douglass has been accorded that role by history--while Delany, according to Levine, has suffered a fate typical of the black separatist: marginalization. In restoring Delany to his place in literary and cultural history, Levine makes possible a fuller understanding of the politics of antebellum African American leadership.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807862919
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 11/09/2000
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 328
Lexile: 1710L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Robert S. Levine is associate professor of English at the University of Maryland. He is author of Conspiracy and Romance: Studies in Brockden Brown, Cooper, Hawthorne, and Melville and editor of a forthcoming collection of Martin Delany's writings.

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From the Publisher

[A] compelling study. . . . A rich and important study of the complex cross-fertilizations that occurred in antebellum culture. It addresses many of the most important issues currently debated in transnational and 'postnational' cultural studies such as the location of the (black) nation, the function of borders, the question of alterity, and the tension between integrative and resistant narratives.—Journal of American Studies

Levine's book significantly expands our understanding of the interaction between these important black leaders.—Journal of Southern History

Levine's analysis . . . is inventive and at times provocative. . . . This is an inventive take on the ways in which political views are forged and recast in the crucible of political agitation.—Journal of American History

With its powerful style and exemplary documentation this book must be counted among the most important contributions to Delany scholarship in many years.—American Historical Review

Fascinating. . . . Through careful research, Levine restores Delany to his hard-won rank as a 'representative man' for the African American race.—Choice

Levine's Martin R. Delany will stand as the definitive collection for some time to come. It provides a plethora of previously unavailable material about the life of this controversial leader. . . . Delany, as Levine's work shows us, was a complex figure whose life embraced the full gamut of nineteenth-century American thought.—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography

This book is the fullest and richest direct comparison to date of the literary careers of Frederick Douglass and Martin Delany, and it lays a new foundation for the comparative study of literary black abolitionism. Levine makes an intriguing case that Delany belongs with Douglass on equal footing within the canon of the American Renaissance. He also demonstrates the mutual influence of Delany, Douglass, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, offering a convincing defense of Stowe as an anti-racist.—David W. Blight, Amherst College

Using a wide array of important documents, Robert Levine's excellent new book on Douglass and Delany opens to view a revealing relationship in antebellum culture and will be welcomed by literary critics and historians alike.—Eric Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles

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