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Unchained Voices Hardcover – October, 1996

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Many of us know of the poet Phillis Wheatley, the first black woman to publish a book in the Americas, but many of her contemporaries in America and in England remain obscure. This anthology, compiled by Vincent Carretta, a professor of English at the University of Maryland, goes a long way toward rectifying that omission. Here, Carretta collects the work of nearly 20 black writers from the late 1700s. Some, like Ignatius Sancho, a black Londoner who corresponded with important figures of his day such as the author Laurence Sterne, and Olaudah Equiano, an early black abolitionist who created the slave narrative, are well known. Others, like the poet Francis Williams, or Johnson Green, who served in the Revolutionary Army, and whose confession before his execution in 1786 for burglary is included here, are less so. This is an important collection but, while Carretta provides an introduction and footnotes, one wishes he had provided brief biographies for each of the contributors.


This powerful anthology of black authors in English-speaking 18th century nations provides a narrow but necessary focus, assembling a comprehensive presentation of notables whose writings have reflected the experiences of blacks around the world. Themes of liberation, freedom and personal frustration in the effort abound. -- Midwest Book Review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 387 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky (October 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813119766
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813119762
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.7 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #759,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Vincent Carretta's _Unchained Voices_ is a masterful anthology of black writers of the 18th century. This compilation--which includes well-known authors such as Phillis Wheatly and Olaudah Equiano, as well as more obscure writers like George Liele and Belinda--is invaluable to scholars of early American, African, and African-American literature. From criminals to Indian captives, the writers in Carretta's anthology illustrate the diversity of the African experience in the English-speaking world of the 18th century. Carretta's introduction and notes are brilliant, his attention to detail and tireless scholarship a model for other academics. While an excellent book for classroom use (I assign it in my survey courses of African-American literature), this anthology will also appeal to readers interested in beginnings of African-American literature.
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Meticulously documented and expansive. Caretta is a sharp editor, and this collection will make even casual readers interested in 18th c. black experience in the British Atlantic world.
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