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The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudiah Equiano, or Gustav Vassa, the African
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Equiano's autobiography tells the story of his life before, during and after enslavement, and is considered to have established the slave narrative as a new literary genre. Born in a village in West Africa, Equiano was captured and enslaved at the age of 11, taken to the West Indies and sold to a Virginia planter. Later brought to London, he was able to buy his freedom at the age of 40 after time spent at sea. This edition is that of the 1789 first edition and is accompanied here by an introduction, map, illustrations and annotations. The "Contexts" section provides related public writings on the autobiography, historical background and works debating the slave trade. "Criticism" includes six contemporary reviews and nine modern essays on the narrative.
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Werner Sollors is Henry B. and Anne M. Cabot Professor of English Literature and African American Studies at Harvard University. He previously taught at Columbia University, the Free University of Berlin, and the Universita degli Studi di Venezia. He is the author of Ethnic Modernism, Neither Black Nor White Yet Both: Thematic Explorations of Interracial Literature, Beyond Ethnicity: Consent and Descent in American Culture, and Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones: The Quest for a "Populist Modernism." His edited works include A New Literary History of America (with Greil Marcus), African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges (with Glenda R. Carpio), The Multilingual Anthology of American Literature: A Reader of Original Texts with English Translations (with Marc Shell), Multilingual America: Transnationalism, Ethnicity, and the Languages of America, The Return of Thematic Criticism, Theories of Ethnicity: A Classical Reader, The Invention of Ethnicity, and the Norton Critical edition of The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, Written by Himself.

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