Item #368601 Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself. Frederick Douglass.
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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave. Written by Himself.

Boston: The Anti-Slavery Office, No. 25 Cornhill, 1845.

Price: $35,000.00


About the item

First edition. Engraved frontispiece portrait. xvi, 125 pp. 1 vols. 8vo. Publisher's cloth, decorated in blind, titled in gilt on front cover. Blockson 9739; Blockson 101, no. 27; Dumond, p. 48; Weinstein, Against the Tide, no. 83; Work, p. 474.

Item #368601

The first edition of the first book by Frederick Douglass, describing his years in captivity in Maryland and his eventual escape and involvement in the abolition movement. "Published seven years after the author escaped slavery. It is probably the best known narrative of the ante-bellum period" (Blockson).

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., in his essay "What is an African American Classic," names The Narrative, along with The Souls of Black Folk, by W.E.B. Du Bois, and Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston, as the "three most classic of the black classics." With a preface by William Lloyd Garrison, who had advised against publication, fearing details in the work would lead to Douglass's recapture.

The Narrative was published in mid-May 1845 in 5,000 copies and sold for 50 cents. It was followed by two more autobiographies — My Bondage, My Freedom (1855) and Life and Times of Frederick Douglass (1881).