Frederick Douglass's autobiography, Narrative ofthe Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave,
is widely regarded as a classic of American nineteenth-century history, of African-American studies, and of literature. In 1845, just seven years after his escape from slavery, the young Douglass published this powerful account of his lifeas a slaveand his triumph over oppression. The book, which marked the beginning of Douglass s career as an impassioned writer, journalist, and orator for the abolitionist cause, reveals the terrors he faced as a slave, the brutalities of his owners and overseers, and his harrowing escape to the North.
This edition of the book, based on the authoritative text that appears in Yale University Press s multivolume edition of the Frederick Douglass Papers
, is the only edition of Douglass s Narrative
designated as an Approved Text by the Modern Language Association s Committee on Scholarly Editions. It includes a chronology of Douglass s life, a thorough introduction by the eminent Douglass scholar John Blassingame, historical notes, and reader responses to the first edition of 1845.
None so dramatically as Douglass integrated both the horror and the great quest of the African-American experience into the deep stream of American autobiography. He advanced and extended that tradition and is rightfully designated one of its greatest practitioners. John W. Blassingame, from the introduction