Specters of Democracy: Blackness and the Aesthetics of Politics in the Antebellum U.S.

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Oxford University Press, May 27, 2011 - Literary Criticism - 252 pages
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Specters of Democracy examines how figurations of blackness were used to illuminate the fraught relationship between citizenship, equality, and democracy in the antebellum U.S. Through close readings of Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, and Walt Whitman (on aurality), and Herman Melville, William J. Wilson, and a host of genre painters (on visuality), the book reveals how the difficult tasks of representing African Americans-both enslaved and free-in imaginative expression was part of a larger dilemma concerning representative democracy itself.

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About the author (2011)

Ivy G. Wilson is Associate Professor of English at Northwestern University. He is the editor of At the Dusk of Dawn: Selected Poetry and Prose of Albery Allson Whitman and the coeditor, with Robert S. Levine, of The Works of James M. Whitfield: America and Other Writings by a Nineteenth-Century African American Poet.

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