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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Modern Library Mass Market Paperbacks) Mass Market Paperback – 28 Dec 2004


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Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave & Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (Modern Library Mass Market Paperbacks) + The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn (Collins Classics) + The Scarlet Letter (Penguin English Library)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 434 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; Reprint edition (28 Dec 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345478231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345478238
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 306,367 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mrs Lofts on 25 Mar 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is not only the narrative of Douglass but also includes Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl. Both were equally fascinating and well worth reading. Nothing in fiction and film can compare with the actual real lives of people who were there and I would recommend this book to anyone whether interested in history or not. They are both extremely interesting tales.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Benedetta Martini on 9 Dec 2013
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I needed this book for study purposes but it was impossible to find it in any bookstore. It is exactly what I needed and it didn't take long to arrive.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 13 reviews
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
A potent pairing of two essential autobiographies 23 Oct 2001
By Michael J. Mazza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
"Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass" (first published in 1845) and Harriet Jacobs' "Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl" (1861) are probably the two most powerful examples of the slave narrative. This literary form represents the first-person accounts of individuals who have lived as slaves. The Modern Library has paired these two essential American texts in a single edition, with an introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah and commentaries by Jean Fagan Yellin and Margaret Fuller.
Together, "Narrative" and "Incidents" offer a male and female perspective on the institution that has left lasting scars on America. These texts are well written, and rich in social and political insights. Both authors graphically illustrate, for example, how the Judeo-Christan Bible and the Christian church were used as tools to support the racist system of slavery. Douglass provides a powerful window into the importance of literacy as a tool by which he escaped a slave mentality. And Jacobs incisively deconstructs the twisted strands of race, gender, power, and sexuality that tied together slaveowning culture.
"Narrative" and "Incidents" are compelling pieces of literature. Moreover, the authors' themes can be seen as foundational for many later works of United States literature: Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Toni Morrison's "Beloved," Octavia Butler's "Kindred," and many other texts. Even a popular film like "The Matrix" echoes the slave narratives in some aspects.
Douglass and Jacobs are prime examples of writers who superbly combined literary craftsmanship with an intense political commitment. Their achievements make them crucial figures in the field of African-American studies. This combined edition of their outstanding books should be celebrated by teachers, students, reading groups, church study groups, and individual readers.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
You won't be able to put this book down!!! 15 May 2009
By Sam A. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Ann Jacobs, is a first-hand account of the author's life as a slave in the early 1800's. It is also a thrilling story of Jacobs's incredible struggle to gain her freedom. The memoir begins in North Carolina when Jacobs is born into slavery in 1813, and takes her, as a young adult, to New York and Massachusetts. Using the pseudonym Linda Brent, Jacobs tells her harrowing story in a powerful voice that the reader cannot forget. What makes Jacobs's account unique is that she writes about the horrors of slavery from a female perspective, as a young woman and as a mother.

Both of Jacob's parents were light-skinned mulatto slaves, and so was she. Jacobs was bright and articulate, and she had a strong, independent spirit. Although she writes that "human slaveholders" were "like angels' visits--few and far between," she did meet a few kind white people during her hard life. One of them, her first mistress, taught Jacobs to read and spell. That ability, which was forbidden to most slaves under penalty of severe punishment, gave Jacobs self-esteem and helped her to persevere in the face of horrible adversity. In Frederick Douglass's Narrative of his life as a slave, he also explains how learning to read and write gave him the hope and inspiration he needed to turn away from despair and reach for a better life.

During the course of Jacobs's memoir, she gives birth to two children, a son and then a daughter. At the birth of her daughter, instead of being joyful, Jacobs writes, "When they told me my new-born babe was a girl, my heart was heavier than it had ever been before. Slavery is terrible for men; but it is far more terrible for women. Superadded to the burden common to all, they have wrongs, and sufferings, and mortifications peculiarly their own."

The reader understands exactly what Jacobs means by that statement when Dr. Flint enters the story. Jacobs comes to live with Dr. Flint and his family when she is twelve years old and her mother has died. For many years after that time, Dr. Flint uses psychological torture, humiliation, and threats to coerce Jacobs into having a sexual relationship with him. Although Jacobs refuses to give in to Dr. Flint's sexual demands (and eventually has two children with another white man she knows to spite her cruel master), Dr. Flint never relents and does everything he can to make Jacobs's life miserable. Once Jacobs's children are born, Dr. Flint plays on her love for them to manipulate and frighten her into becoming his mistress, but again she rejects him. That is the worst conflict that Jacobs faces. But her daily life is also a constant struggle with the feelings of hopelessness that go along with being treated as a piece of property rather than a human being.

I highly recommend this book for several reasons. For readers who love suspense, the memoir is filled with danger and excitement. Jacobs encounters many setbacks, and you do not find out until the very end if she succeeds in becoming free. Jacobs also brings her characters to life in a way that the reader really hates them or loves them. And, for readers who love history, the book provides a detailed look at a shameful period in American history.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Essential reading for Americans 7 Jun 2008
By T - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
These two books are sometimes very hard going, but essential reading for Americans. We probably tend to think about slavery very much in the abstract, when we even think about it, but these narratives make it painfully palpable and very human. In a way complementary to Akhil Reed Amar's brilliant description of the way slavery thoroughly corrupted the American political system (in his America's Constitution), these books reveal in detail the thoroughgoing and extraordinary moral perversion slaveholding caused in individual lives - to some extent those of slaves, but much more those of slave owners, poor southern whites, and complicit northerners. Of course we also see the brutality, horrors and deprivations of slave life.

Douglass' narrative is better known than Jacobs.' Among many other things, how he taught himself to write is a remarkable story of shrewdness and determination against all odds. Jacobs' was an appalling life of virtually constant sexual harassment from an early age, which was undoubtedly a normal situation for many female slaves. What she went through to escape it is hard to imagine, and her single-minded determination to see her children free is incredible. The picture she gives of the distortions slavery caused in slaveholding families - lecherous men unconstrained by law or convention, angry and vengeful wives, gossip and whispering among white and black children and adults, children sold by their fathers to get the family features and relations out of sight and mind, and the increasing corruption of individuals' characters this caused over time - again, hard going but essential reading. A peculiar institution, ordained by God, good for the slave and slaveholder alike. Indeed.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
shatter the romance! 24 Nov 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
simply astounding! totally shatters those awful and ever-infectious civil war era romantic notions. be gone, "gone with the wind!" many thanks be to the spirits of mr. douglass and ms. jacobs for surviving their tremendous struggles to give us truth! recommend these books to others (especially the crowd that chooses to separate the "human stock" question from intellectual discussions of the civil war era).
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
American History 8 Dec 2013
By Michael M. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are African-American or an American from any other racial background you need to know the history of this awesome nation. I say awesome because these stories make me so proud to be a young black man making it in this country today, listen if you don't know of the great Frederick Douglass or the tenacious Harriet Jacobs then get to know them today and learn about why slavery will never hold the human spirit down.
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