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“To Perpetuate Her Name”: Appropriation and Autobiography in Margaretta Matilda Odell’s Memoir of Phillis Wheatley

“To Perpetuate Her Name”: Appropriation and Autobiography in Margaretta Matilda Odell’s... <p>Abstract:</p><p>The article reads Margaretta Matilda Odell’s 1834 biography of the pioneering African American poet in light of Odell’s own life story, which ended in a decades-long confinement in a private insane asylum. While previous scholars, many of whom have been justifiably skeptical of Odell’s account, have located a covert racial agenda in her work, I identify the influence of a distinctly gendered anxiety shaping Odell’s text. Rewriting Wheatley’s history as a narrative of extrafamilial female solidarity, Odell addresses her own vulnerable position as an unmarried woman in an era in which perceptions of female worth and identity remained heavily tied to the domestic sphere.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Early American Literature University of North Carolina Press

“To Perpetuate Her Name”: Appropriation and Autobiography in Margaretta Matilda Odell’s Memoir of Phillis Wheatley

Early American Literature , Volume 55 (1) – Jan 29, 2020

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1534-147X

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>The article reads Margaretta Matilda Odell’s 1834 biography of the pioneering African American poet in light of Odell’s own life story, which ended in a decades-long confinement in a private insane asylum. While previous scholars, many of whom have been justifiably skeptical of Odell’s account, have located a covert racial agenda in her work, I identify the influence of a distinctly gendered anxiety shaping Odell’s text. Rewriting Wheatley’s history as a narrative of extrafamilial female solidarity, Odell addresses her own vulnerable position as an unmarried woman in an era in which perceptions of female worth and identity remained heavily tied to the domestic sphere.</p>

Journal

Early American LiteratureUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 29, 2020

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