Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature

Article excerpt

Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature (Duquesne University Press, 2014, pp.340, ISBN: 978-0-8207-04715) by Reginald A. Wilburn.

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This work theorize African American authors' rebellious appropriations of English poet, polemicist and civil servant John Milton (1608-1674) and his canon in a comparative and hybrid context to engage African Americans' transatlantic negotiations with perhaps the preeminent freedom writer in the English tradition and contends that early African American authors appropriated and remastered Milton by "completing and complicating" England's epic poet of liberty with the inter-textual originality of repetitive difference. Wilburn thus focuses on a diverse array of early African American authors, such as Phillis Wheatley, Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, Frederick Douglass, and Anna Julia Cooper, to name a few, as he examines the presence of Milton in the works to demonstrate early African American rhetorical affiliations with the poet's "satanic epic" for the messianic purposes of freedom and racial uplift. …

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