Frances Ellen Watkins Harper: Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects

(299 words)
  • Terry Novak

Frances Harper’s Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects was first published in 1854 under the author’s birth name, Frances Ellen Watkins. The concise collection of poems and essays met with extensive critical and commercial success in Harper’s day. The book sold 10,000 copies in its first five years; by 1871 the book was in its 20th edition. The volume’s first edition includes a preface signed “W.L.G.”; scholars have concluded that these initials belong to famed abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison. The importance of such a preface is not to be underestimated. In what becomes a typical introduction to a nineteenth century work written by an African American, Garrison attests to the intelligence and …

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Novak, Terry. "Poems on Miscellaneous Subjects". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 29 August 2005
[, accessed 27 September 2016.]