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Lecture 9

ENG250Y5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Phillis Wheatley, Methodism

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Melissa Gniadek

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Lecture 9: Phillis Wheatley
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
1:12 PM
Rowlandson: 1682
Knight: 1704/05 not published until 1825
Changing America with race, differential ties together
1740-70 height of slave trade in MA
Phillis Wheatley
Purchased and brought into the family to be domestic servant and companion to
her owner Mrs. Wheatley
Didn't know English, clearly educated by Mrs. Wheatley's daughter
Portrait itself seems notable, individual rising and acknowledgment
Sense of uncomfortableness
Actively writing with feather in hand, sense of power
Legitimizing her, like the Bradstreet and Rowlandson preface stuff
Attached to his name, saw that in Bradstreet
Attempt to domesticate her, put into familiar setting
Shows her sitting there and writing herself
Countess of Huntington
Same hand movement, thinking
Preface, it's okay she was doing her work
Had no intention to publish
Master legitimizing with a letter to the publisher
Added complication of Race and Womanhood
Did she really write these? Could she? Is it ok? Possible?
All of these male voices, striking
Makes place of herself in Boston society
Savvy business woman, aware of sentimental culture of the moment
Writing poems that people want
Believes in Christianity, this is difficult for us to accept
Complicated figure
People first start encountering her poetry, frustrated
Seemed like going back, colonization: using language
Covertly subversive, has to negotiate race, gender
Committed to her Christianity
Era where religion isn't a sealed community anymore, new emphasis of
Methodist revivals, camp meetings etc.
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