Phillis Wheatley

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Standard Name: Wheatley, Phillis
Despite her youth at the time she published most of her works, PW is an interesting and original late eighteenth-century poetic voice. Her poems (dozens published in newspapers, as well as collected) and letters range through social feeling, classical allusion, the religious, and the political, with mostly veiled comments on her own peculiar status as a black African slave writing for free people. Her race, gender, and enslaved status give her a particular interest, but her literary achievement makes a solid part of that interest.
Oval engraving of Phillis Wheatley, frontispiece to her "Poems on Various Occasions," 1773. She sits at a desk writing with a quill pen on paper, a book and ink bottle nearby, wearing a servant's white cap, wide collar, and apron. Text surrounding the image reads: "Phillis Wheatley, Negro Servant to Mr. John Wheatley, of Boston."
"Phillis Wheatley" Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Phillis_Wheatley_frontispiece.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Connections

Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Friends, Associates Anne Steele
AS evidently chose her friends at least partly for their literary interests, since they included three publishing women of a younger generation—Hannah More , Anna Seward , and (a closer friend than the first...
Friends, Associates Mary Palmer
MP was one of those whom Phillis Wheatley , the black poet from Boston, recorded meeting during her visit to England in summer 1773.
Duquette, Natasha Aleksiuk. Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women’s Approach to Biblical Interpretation. Pickwick Publications, 2016.
77
Occupation Alice Walker
She supplemented her Radcliffe Institute writing fellowship (worth $5,000, awarded for a year and extended for a second year) by teaching at Wellesley College .
White, Evelyn. Alice Walker. A Life. Norton, 2004.
218, 222, 225
There her course on black women writers...
Publishing Olaudah Equiano
Equiano was already a well-known figure in the abolitionist movement in Britain when his book appeared. He had issued Proposals for his subscription in November 1788 (the same month that George III fell ill, probably...
Textual Features Mary Stockdale
Her poems dwell on suffering, with titles like The Sigh, Sorrow, and Absence. They celebrate her family and female friends;
Feminist Companion Archive.
when she enters a protest about the slave trade, she does so...
Textual Features Mary Scott
In the dedication she mentions a few new publications that came to her attention too late to be discussed in the poem itself. These include works by Hester Chapone , Hannah More , and Phillis Wheatley
Textual Production Mary Whateley Darwall
Her friends (including her future husband and father-in-law) collected 761 subscriptions.
Messenger, Ann. Woman and Poet in the Eighteenth Century: The Life of Mary Whateley Darwall (1738-1825). AMS Press, 1999.
42
Someone, perhaps Shenstone, took responsibility for improvements; these changes made Mary Whateley sound more formal and less original.
Messenger, Ann. Woman and Poet in the Eighteenth Century: The Life of Mary Whateley Darwall (1738-1825). AMS Press, 1999.
46ff
The book was...
Textual Production Charlotte Nooth
His De la littérature des Nègres in its original form reflects internationalism, anglophilia, and perhaps even proto-feminism. The title-page quotes Mary Robinson . The roll of honour of white activists for abolition and racial equality...
Textual Production Mary Palmer
The enslaved poet Phillis Wheatley , who met MP during her visit from Boston to England, called her a poetess, and accomplished lady, but none of Palmer's poetry is known to survive.
Duquette, Natasha Aleksiuk. Veiled Intent: Dissenting Women’s Approach to Biblical Interpretation. Pickwick Publications, 2016.
77
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Lydia Maria Child
She composed it largely of biographies of black people: Toussaint L'Ouverture , Frederick Douglass , and (more briefly) Phillis Wheatley .
Clifford, Deborah Pickman. Crusader for Freedom. Beacon Press, 1992.
272
With these went stories about slaves, a few good hymns, and finally a...
Theme or Topic Treated in Text Mary Deverell
MD has an acute sense of the way women are disadvantaged. She is, she confesses, a rebel against the domestic sphere.
Deverell, Mary. Miscellanies in Prose and Verse. Printed for the author by J. Rivington, Jun., 1781.
1: 43
Of all the faults, that were ever laid to the charge of...

Timeline

30 September 1770
Charismatic evangelist George Whitefield died at Newburyport, near Boston, Massachusetts.
Soon after 18 March 1771
Jane Dunlap (born Harris, later Livermore) published at Boston, Massachusetts, her Poems, upon Several Sermons, preached by the Rev'd, and renowned, George Whitefield , while in Boston.
By October 1790
Joseph La Valée 's novel The Negro Equalled by Few Europeans, written in French, appeared in English translation at London.