The Heroic Slave

A Cultural and Critical Edition

Frederick Douglass; Edited by Robert S. Levine, John Stauffer, and John R. McKivigan

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Frederick Douglass’s only work of fiction—an imaginative retelling of the most successful slave revolt in American history—accompanied by an interpretive introduction, notes, and a selection of related writings by Douglass  and others

First published nearly a decade prior to the Civil War, The Heroic Slave is the only fictional work by abolitionist, orator, author, and social reformer Frederick Douglass, himself a former slave. It is inspired by the true story of Madison Washington, who, along with eighteen others, took control of the slave ship Creole in November 1841 and sailed it to Nassau in the British colony of the Bahamas, where they could live free. This new critical edition, ideal for classroom use, includes the full text of Douglass’s fictional recounting of the most successful slave revolt in American history, as well as an interpretive introduction; excerpts from Douglass’s correspondence, speeches, and editorials; short selections by other writers on the Creole rebellion; and recent criticism on the novella.

Frederick Douglass (1818–1895) was an American social reformer, orator, author, and statesman. Robert S. Levine is professor of English at the University of Maryland. John Stauffer is chair of the History of American Civilization and professor of English and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. John R. McKivigan is Mary O’Brien Gibson Professor of History at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.

"The Heroic Slave: A Cultural and Critical Edition is simply excellent. This well-conceived, well-executed edition reveals aspects of Douglass that are often forgotten. Some of the historical documents included will be new even to specialists."—Maurice Lee, Boston University

"Robert Levine, John Stauffer, and John McKivigen are careful and accomplished scholars and this book is the edition one would expect from their combined efforts. This is a tremendous resource."—John Ernest, University of Deleware
ISBN: 9780300184624
Publication Date: March 24, 2015
304 pages, 5.5 x 8.25
6 b/w illus.
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