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Frederick Douglass and the Long Road to Freedom   

In 1845, the fugitive slave, acclaimed orator, and abolitionist activist Frederick Douglass published his bestselling memoir, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written by Himself. In this class, members will analyze the text as an aesthetic reconstruction of a remarkable life that draws on the genres of sentimental fiction, bildungsroman (coming-of-age novel), and biblical epic to present a hero’s flight from bondage to freedom and self-possession. Members will approach Douglass’ graphic account of slavery as a rhetorical strategy intended to build and galvanize the international slave abolition movement. Finally, the class discussions will explore what Douglass’ Narrative has to offer philosophically and ethically about the nature and meaning of freedom for an individual life.

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