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Frederick Douglass' Slave Narratives

            ï»¿Frederick Douglass was the most important black American leader of the 19th century. He was born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey near Maryland's Eastern Shore in 1808, the son of a slave woman, and in all likelihood, her white master. When Douglass was about twelve years old, his master's wife started teaching him the alphabet from then he continued, secretly, to teach himself how to read and write. Upon his escape from slavery at age 20, he adopted the surname of Frederick Douglass and quickly became involved in the campaign against slavery known as the abolitionist movement. Douglas proved to be an impressive public speaker and writer, he eventually immortalized his life story (whether as a slave or a free man) in three autobiographies, which are Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave (1845) My Bondage and My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881). Douglass's devotion to abolitionism led him to confer with Abraham Lincoln during the civil war and after the war he fought for the rights of women and African-Americans alike. .
             Our concerned for today is a production that is universally regarded as the finest example of a slave narrative tradition and Douglass' most accomplished work, that is to say the Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself. Indeed, when it was issues, the autobiography was an instant success, selling 11,000 copies within three years. Besides, was also published in Europe and widely translated. Douglass called it this way to stress his authorship of the work. In fact, there were other slave narratives in his time, some told by former slaves to white writers, and Douglass wanted to distinguish his work from other such narratives. Thus we can say that, Douglass' Narrative feats very well Lejeune's definition of classical autobiography not only because it is written from the first person singular perspective but also because the author, the narrator, and the protagonist share a common identity.

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