College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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intertextuality, transatlanticism, Lord Byron, Frederick Douglass, slavery


t is the design of this project to suggest that Frederick Douglass' novella, "The Heroic Slave," both pulled from and was a catalyst in the field of emancipatory discourse and debate, most notably through the links between Douglass' and Byron's work found in the epigraphs to the novella. These links offered Douglass a means of harnessing past conversations on slavery. Douglass' ability to access these communicative environments is made possible due to the intertextual nature of literature. Through the use of adaptation and word play, Douglass was able to access and use a separate narrative voice from that which he had demonstrated in all his other works. Through the integration of this new voice, Douglass channeled a series of communicative environments that had far reaching effects within the United States and helped shape the language of abolition in the 19th Century.