Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Empire of RuinBlack Classicism and American Imperial Culture$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

John Levi Barnard

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780190663599

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190663599.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 03 July 2022

Phillis Wheatley and the Affairs of State

Phillis Wheatley and the Affairs of State

(p.23) 1 Phillis Wheatley and the Affairs of State
Empire of Ruin

John Levi Barnard

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers Phillis Wheatley as a political actor within the context of revolutionary-era Boston, and her political poetry as representative of the genre eighteenth-century readers would have known as the poem on the affairs of state. Within this larger category the chapter identifies two distinct yet related literary modes in Wheatley’s work. The first, her neoclassical poetics of political identification, engages with the revolutionary rhetoric of freedom as a means of linking the struggle of American revolutionaries with that of enslaved people in America. While this poetics of identification is rooted in a sense of optimism linked to the ethos of revolution, Wheatley simultaneously develops a poetics of opposition, which registers a lingering skepticism as to the likelihood of liberation for enslaved and free blacks in post-revolutionary America.

Keywords:   Phillis Wheatley, classicism, neoclassicism, poetry, panegyric, American Revolution, Cato, Icarus

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .