Approaches to Teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass

  • Editor: James C. Hall
  • Pages: xiii & 174 pp.
  • Published: 2000
  • ISBN: 9780873527491 (Cloth)
  • ISBN: 9780873527507 (Paperback)
Approaches to Teaching Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass Cover

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.