Pub. Date:
Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself: A Norton Critical Edition / Edition 1

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Upon its publication in 1845, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself became an immediate best-seller.

In addition to its far-reaching impact on the antislavery movement in the United States and abroad, Douglass’s fugitive slave narrative won recognition for its literary excellence, which has since earned it a place among the classics of nineteenth-century American autobiography. This Norton Critical Edition reprints the 1845 first edition of Douglass’s compelling work.  Explanatory annotations accompany the text.

A rich selection of "Contexts" provides the reader with contemporary perspectives.  Included are the little-known preface that Douglass wrote in 1846 for the second Irish edition; a public exchange of letters between A. C. C. Thompson, a former slaveholder, and Douglass; three autobiographical portraits of Douglass's parents; Douglass’s account of his escape from slavery, which he chose not to include in the 1845 Narrative; samples of Douglass’s use of his slave experience in two of his most influential antislavery speeches; and reminiscences by James Monroe Gregory and Elizabeth Cady Stanton of Douglass as both orator and friend.

"Criticism" collects six essential assessments of the Narrative’s historical and literary aspects, by William S. McFeely, Peter Ripley, Robert B. Stepto, William L. Andrews, Houston A. Baker, Jr., and Deborah E. McDowell. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393969665
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 12/28/1996
Series: Norton Critical Editions Series
Edition description: REV
Pages: 200
Product dimensions: 5.10(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

William L. Andrews is E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is general editor of Wisconsin Studies in Autobiography and The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology, and co-editor of The Oxford Companion to African American Literature and The Norton Anthology of African American Literature. Other works include the Norton Critical Edition of Up From Slavery; The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt; To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro- American Autobiography, 1760–1865; Sisters of the Spirit; The Curse of Caste by Julia C. Collins; Life of William Grimes, the Runaway Slave; and Slave Narratives after Slavery.

William S. McFeely is Abraham Baldwin Professor of the Humanities, Emeritus, at the University of Georgia. He is the author of Yankee Stepfather: General O. O. Howard and the Freedmen; Grant: A Biography, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and the Parkman Prize; Frederick Douglass, which received the Lincoln Prize; Sapelo’s People: A Long Walk into Freedom; and Proximity to Death.


Tuckahoe, Maryland

Date of Birth:


Date of Death:

February 20, 1895

Place of Death:

Washington, D.C.

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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave: Written by Himself: A Norton Critical Edition 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Redthing on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A VERY good account of what slavery did to countless lives. Definately something that should be in a high school cirriculum.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I gained personal inspiration from reading the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. There were many things that I already knew about American slavery, but Douglass' details were very intense and helped bring my understanding of the whole cruel era to a new height. It was the idea of being free that helped drive him to gain his own personal freedom. After reading this story, I felt a need to excel and strive for more in my own life. Not things, because things do not make a man, but the spirit of man is what is important. Douglass' spirit led him to be a great thinker, speaker, writer, leader, and his spirit empowered him as a human being. He escaped the bondage of slavery through his strength and endurance over many, many hardships. I highly recommend this book for reading. It tells of a history that is extraordinary, and one that must never be forgotten.