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Approaches to Teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

Editor(s): James C. Hall

Pages: xiii & 174 pp.
Published: 2000
ISBN: 9780873527491

We are currently out of stock of the paperback edition of this title. The cloth edition will be substituted at the paperback price.

One of the most frequently taught slave narratives, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass is assigned in many courses, including American and African American literature, African American studies, women's studies, and even composition. Regularly excerpted in introductory American literature and composition anthologies, Douglass's classic first-person account is ideal for exploring the artistic accomplishment of the slave narrator. In this Approaches to Teaching World Literature volume, sixteen essays on teaching the work testify to the complexity of such accounts and their possibilities in the classroom.

Like other books in the MLA's Approaches series, this one is divided into two parts. The first part, "Materials," discusses the reference works, historical and critical studies, and other materials most commonly used and recommended by teachers of Douglass's work. In the second part, "Approaches," a diverse group of scholars describe methods of presentation that they have found effective for enlivening classroom discussion and enhancing students' appreciation of the text. Their essays outline the challenges posed by Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass and the fundamental literary and historical debates surrounding the narrator's account. They also evaluate problems of cultural authority and historical record, provide examples of teaching the text alongside other slave narratives, and suggest ways to incorporate it into introductory courses such as humanities and world literature.

Table of Contents

Approaches to Teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

James C. Hall


Related Readings

Historical Background: African American Literary and Cultural History
General Background
African American and American Literary History
Other Pertinent Cultural History
The Slave Narrative
Studies of the Slave Narrative and African American Autobiography


Historical Background: Frederick Douglass and Other Slave Narrators
Biographies and Biographical Studies of Douglass
Biographical Studies of Other Slave Narrators

Audiovisual Materials



Cultural Authority and the Teaching of the Slave Narrative

Personal Places: Slavery and Mission in Graduate Seminars
Joycelyn K. Moody

The Experiences of Slave Narratives: Reading against Authenticity
Lindon Barrett

Framing the Slave Narrative / Framing Discussion
Russ Castronovo

Douglass's Narrative in Historical Context

Douglass's "Perplexing Difficulty"
Arthur Zilversmit

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Slave: Douglass's Frontispiece Engravings
Ed Folsom

Douglass and Sentimental Rhetoric
Jeffrey Steele

Douglass's Natural Rights Constitutionalism
Gregg D. Crane

Shattering Kidnapper's Heavenly Union: Interargumentation in Douglass's Oratory and Narrative
Keith D. Miller and Ruth Ellen Kocher

Comparative and Intertextual Approaches to the Narrative

A Labor Studies Approach to Douglass's Narrative
Laura Hapke

"Trust No Man!" But What about a Woman? Ellen Craft and a Genealogical Model for Teaching Douglass's Narrative
Barbara McCaskill

Incidents in the Life of Frederick Douglass
Elizabeth Schultz

Qualified Knowledge: Douglass and Harriet Jacobs
John Ernest

Doing More than Patrick Henry: Douglass's Narrative and Nineteenth-Century American Protest Writing
Anita Patterson

Douglass's Narrative in Introductory Courses

Teaching Douglass's Narrative in an Introductory Humanities Course
Martin Klammer

Teaching Douglass's Narrative in the World Literature Survey
David L. Dudley

Teaching Douglass's Narrative in the United States Literature Survey
Bruce Mills

Works Cited


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