Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Wheatley, Phillis. (ca 1753 - 1784).

L i f e

- born in Africa, brought to America when she was eight, and sold to the Boston merchant Wheatley

- quickly learnt to read and write in English, encouraged by her owner to write poetry

- studied Latin, Greek, the classics, history, and the Bible (converted to Christianity)

- on her success as a poet officially granted freedom

- married a free Afro-American x but: he soon left her

- her failing marriage, death of children, and declining health resulted in her early death

P o e t r y

- occasional poems

- two thirds of her poems are elegies, the rest on religious, classical, abstract, and sometimes patriotic themes

- a surprising lack of reference to her own experience as a slave/free Afro-American

- a neo-classical style

Poems on Various Subjects, Religious, and Moral (1773):

- the first volume of poetry to be published by an Afro-American

- published in London, enchanted London society during her visits

Memoir and Poems of Phillis Wheatley (1834, posthum.)


"'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,

Taught my benighted soul to understand

That there’s a God, that there’s a Saviour too:

Once I redemption neither sought nor knew".


From "On Being Brought from Africa to America".


(Sketch: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Phillis Wheatley (ca 1753 - 1784). African-American.
  • Work

    Poet. The first published Afro-American poet.
  • Genres

    Elegy. Devotional, classical, and occasional poetry.


Baym, Nina, ed. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995.

Bercovitch, Sacvan, ed. The Cambridge History of American  Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Cunliffe, Marcus. The Literature of the United States. London: Penguin, 1991.

Lauter, Paul, ed. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lexington: D. C. Heath, 1994.

McQuade, Donald, gen.ed. The Harper American Literature. New York: Harper & Collins, 1996.

Ruland, Richard, Malcolm Bradbury. Od  puritanismu k postmodernismu. Praha: Mladá fronta, 1997.

Vančura, Zdeněk, ed. Slovník spisovatelů: Spojené státy americké. Praha: Odeon, 1979.


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