Phillis Wheatley Chooses Freedom: History, Poetry, and the Ideals of the American Revolution. By G. J. Barker-Benfield. New York: New York Univ. Press. 2018. xi, 221 pp. Cloth, $39.00.
In 1774, a recently emancipated Wheatley refused an offer to return to West Africa as the wife of a Christianized African, choosing to continue her life as a poet in revolutionary America. Exploring Wheatley’s poetry and sociohistorical context, each chapter of this monograph seeks to explain her choice and its ultimate outcome. Barker-Benfield shows how Wheatley’s writing celebrated her own African identity and opposed white American revolutionaries’ “monstrous inconsistency” in demanding freedom for themselves but denying it to others.
Resurrecting Leather-Stocking: Pathfinding in Jacksonian America. By Bill Christophersen. Columbia: Univ. of South Carolina Press. 2019. x, 298 pp. Cloth, $49.99; e-book, $49.99.
This monograph posits that James Fenimore Cooper’s later works,...