Leslie Leonard

Jun 7, 2022

A Newly Discovered Essay by Fredrick Douglass

"Slavery" (1894-1895)

New Books Network 2022

Today’s guest is Leslie Leonard, who received their doctorate in American Studies and 19th C. American Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Their dissertation, The Burdens and Blessings of Responsibility: Duty and Community in Nineteenth-Century America, is a study of the emergent idea of personal responsibility as it conflicted with more established ideas of duty in the writings of Herman Melville, and Harriet Jacobs. Drawing on a range of sources –works of literature, theology, domestic manuals, labor pamphlets – their research shows how many Americans began to conceive of moral responsibility as distinct from both duty and rules of behavior prescribed by traditional social roles. Today, we are discussing Leslie's discovery of an unpublished text by Frederick Douglass, an essay titled “Slavery,” which appeared in the fall 2021 issue of J19: The Journal of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.

John Yargo recently received his PhD in English literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, specializing in the environmental humanities and early modern culture. His articles have been published or are forthcoming in the Journal for Early Modern Culture Studies, Studies in Philology, and Shakespeare Studies.

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