Phillis Wheatley | Criticism

This literature criticism consists of approximately 43 pages of analysis & critique of Phillis Wheatley.
This section contains 12,653 words
(approx. 43 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Marsha Watson

SOURCE: "A Classic Case: Phillis Wheatley and Her Poetry," Early American Literature, Vol. 31, 1996, pp. 103-32.

In the essay that follows, Watson examines the neoclassical blend of conventional diction and imagery in Wheatley's poetry. She argues that the innovative use of these elements becomes a "weapon of racial memory," despite the critical considerations of her work as imitative of or subordinate to Western literary traditions.

I

Following the death of her mistress in 1774, the recently manumitted American colonial poet Phillis Wheatley wrote to philanthropist John Thornton concerning advice he had just given her regarding her future:

The world is a severe schoolmaster, for its frowns are less dang'rous than its smiles and flatteries … I attended, and found exactly true your thoughts on the behaviour of those who seem'd to respect me while under my mistresses patronage: you said right, for some of those have already put on a reserve...

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This section contains 12,653 words
(approx. 43 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by Marsha Watson
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Critical Essay by Marsha Watson from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.