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Clotel; Or the President's Daughter Paperback – February 22, 2013


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Clotel; Or the President's Daughter + Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Dover Thrift Editions) + Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Dover Thrift Editions)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 154 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Brown (February 22, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1613824572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1613824573
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,787,548 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

William Wells Brown (November 6, 1814 – November 6, 1884) was a prominent abolitionist lecturer, novelist, playwright, and historian. Born into slavery in the Southern United States, Brown escaped to the North, where he worked for abolitionist causes and was a prolific writer. Brown was a pioneer in several different literary genres, including travel writing, fiction, and drama, and wrote what is considered to be the first novel by an African American. An almost exact contemporary of Frederick Douglass, Wells Brown was overshadowed by Douglass and the two feuded publicly. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JILL on September 21, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Slave narratives are always emotionally charged. Brown does a great job putting the focus on the slaves rather than on Jefferson.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Americana Music Lover on September 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This novel is interesting even though it is as much narrative essay against the evils of slavery as a piece of fiction. Mr. Brown aims his pen squarely at Christians, challenging them to live their faith. Himself an escaped slave who helped others escape, his story is an authentic indictment of slavery and it's interesting that rumors of Jefferson's children with Sally Hemings were well known long before modern historians had DNA evidence to prove it.
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Format: Paperback
This is a workmanlike treatment of a subject that is a hardly imaginable foundation of early America: slavery.
It’s more a documentary than any modern understanding of a novel. Brown does a good job of character development for a limited cast of characters, including Clotel, the “mulatto” daughter of a black slave mother and a white father. The story of many aspects of slavery—disruption of families, cruelty of masters, the abolition movement, the economic importance of slave-based agriculture and production, the moral, philosophical and political debates about the “peculiar institution”—is written in a style that is manifestly journalistic and prosaic, not literary.
Clotel is a high impact read. Brown was born a slave in Kentucky circa 1818. He escaped, became an abolitionist and a writer in England, and was purchased by friends and freed in the middle of the 19th century. He published Clotel in 1853 as the first “novel” written by a black American.
It isn’t good reading. It’s harsh reading. It’s a terribly candid condemnation of a despicable fact of American history. It’s a catalog of shame and endurance and human spirit.
By the way, the subtitle acknowledges Brown’s unabashed reference to the story, well known in the mid-19th century, that Thomas Jefferson dallied with his slave, Sally Hemings, and had children with her.
Here are a couple items:
Prof. Cashin notes: “Historians estimate that perhaps 10 percent of the four million slaves living in the South in 1860 had some white ancestry” (p. xiii). Too many white owners forced themselves on their female slaves. In some parts of the South, a person with white lineage except for a black great-great-great-great grandmother could legally be sold as a slave.
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By Jo Ann Samuel on July 15, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a very good book.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I read this book for a literature class, otherwise, I wouldn't have chosen it. But I found it fascinating but also very sad and depressing to read about how slave families were torn apart.
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