Amazing Grace by James G. Basker
An Anthology of Poems About Slavery, 1660-1810

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An anthology of poetic writings on slavery from America, Britain, and around the Atlantic during the Enlightenment - the crucial period that saw the height of the slave trade but also the origins of the anti-slavery movement. Bringing together more than 400 poems and excerpts from longer works that were written by more than 250 poets, both famous and unknown, the volume charts the emergence of slavery as part of the collective consciousness of the English-speaking world. The text includes poems by 40 women, ranging from abolitionists Hannah More to Frances Seymour, Countess of Hertford; works by more than 20 African or African-American poets, including familiar names, interesting figures, and newly recovered black poets; and poetry by such canonical writers as Dryden, Defoe, Pope, Johnson, Blake, Boswell, Burns, Wordsworth and Coleridge. The poems speak eloquently of the themes of slavery - capture, torture, endurance, rebellion, thwarted romances and spiritual longing. They also raise questions about the contradictions between cultural attitudes and public policy of the time. Writers such as these, suggests editor James Basker, were not complicit in the imperial project or indifferent about slavery but actually laid the groundwork for the political changes that would follow.

About James G. Basker

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James G. Basker is the Richard Gilder Professor of Literary History at Barnard College, Columbia University, and President of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Published October 1, 2002 by Yale University Press. 784 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Other highlights include poems in abolitionist mini-genres (such as the several poems entitled "The Dying African");

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