Genius in BondageGAMBIER, Ohio (September 25, 2009) Vincent Carretta, professor of English at the University of Maryland, will discuss "Genius in Bondage: A Biography of Phillis Wheatley" on Tuesday, September 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Cheever Seminar Room in the Finn House.
Carretta specializes in African-American, American, and 18th-century literature. He is one of the world's foremost experts in early black Atlantic literature, said Theodore O. Mason Jr., Kenyon professor of English.
Carretta's most recent book is Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man. A recipient of the 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship in American Literature, Carretta's current research focuses on African-American poet Phillis Wheatley.
Wheatley's writings are believed to have helped create the genre of African-American literature. Born in Gambia in 1753, Wheatley was kidnapped and sold into slavery in Boston in 1761. She was accepted as a member of the John Wheatley family and from an early age showed a talent for poetry. She became a celebrated and successful Boston poet, and her Poems of Various Subjects, Religious and Moral was the first book published by an African-American woman.
"Her career highlights the complex relations of slaves to masters and more importantly reveals the tensions surrounding race, creativity, and rationality in the 18th century," Mason said.
Carretta's visit to Kenyon is sponsored by African Diaspora Studies, American Studies, Department of English, Faculty Lectureships, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and the Richard L. Thomas Fund. The event is free and the public is encouraged to attend.