Frances E. W. Harper Iola Leroy

ISBN 13: 9781450586696

Iola Leroy

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One of the most significant contributions to early Black literature, "Iola Leroy" is one of the best-selling novels by an African-American before the 20th century. With its intricate plot, about a mulatto who first assumes she is white, subsequently learns she is the daughter of a slave and is therefore black, and who ultimately makes the conscious choice not to pass for white but to live as a black woman, "Iola Leroy" is a novel filled with the complexities and contradictions of black-and-female existence in America in the nineteenth century. The author of "Iola Leroy," Frances E. W. Harper, was a persuasive and sensitive writer, a popular and articulate speaker, and friend of some of the best-known political activists, religious leaders, educators, and artists of her day. "Iola Leroy" tackles an array of issues affecting the black race, and America in general, during the late 19th century. These issues range from gender, to internalized racism among the Negro of lighter skin color, the infamous "Negro question," the hypocrisy of religion, and many others. The opening chapters in "Iola Leroy" about the slaves under slavery, the slaves during the civil war, their actual role in stopping the confederacy, the intelligence of the slaves, and all are not just idle depictions, but responses to those who felt slaves were incapable of revolution. Harper's analysis of the strength and struggle of the freedmen and freedwomen after slavery tends to also reply to the debate about whether they were worthy of freedom, and whether the fall of reconstruction was inevitable. Harper was optimistic about the future and potential of African-Americans, maintaining that the doors of education, religious freedom, and of economy and capitalism were open to the race. The most undeniable value of the book, is the call that the author makes for literacy, temperance, and the uplifting of the race.

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About the Author:

Frances Ellen Watkins Harper (1825–1911) was an African American abolitionist and poet. Born free in Baltimore, Maryland, she had a long and prolific career, publishing her first book of poetry at twenty and her first novel, the widely praised Iola Leroy, at age 67.

Review:


"Probably the best-selling novel by an African-American before the 20th century."--The New York Times


"For all its heavy-handed moralizing, [Iola Leroy] purposefully fought the prevailing negative views about Blacks."--Essence


"Clearly Harper's words prove her awareness of the cultural and political functions of narrative. With its intricate plot, about a mulatto who first assumes she is white, subsequently learns she is the daughter of a slave ('the child follows the condition of its mother') and is therefore black, and who ultimately makes the conscious choice not to pass for white but to live as a black woman, Iola Leroy is a novel filled with the complexities and contradictions of black-and-female existence in America in the nineteenth century. While the success of the novel is indisputable in terms of copies sold, what is harder to measure is the extent to which it altered cultural and racial attitudes."--The Women's Review of Books


"Harper was a persuasive and sensitive writer, a popular and articulate speaker, and friend of some of the best-known political activists, religious leaders, educators, and artists....Long before she attempted her novel, Iola Leroy, or Shadows Uplifted, she had gained an international reputation as a writer, lecturer, and political activist....Iola Leroy represents the transition from the antebellum period to the Harlem Renaissance and links Afro-American fiction to women's fiction. It is a work that has excited controversy and that is currently exciting scholastic interest."--Frances Foster Smith, from her Introduction


"Frances E.W. Harper's Iola LeRoy is finally taking its place as an illuminating late 19th century treatment of the plantation system. Frances Smith Foster's introduction to the novel is excellent."--Dr. Mary Ann Wiensatt McClintock, University of S. Carolina


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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780486479019: Iola Leroy, or, Shadows Uplifted (Dover Books on Literature & Drama)

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0486479013 ISBN 13:  9780486479019
Publisher: Dover Publications, 2010
Softcover

9780143106043: Iola Leroy (Penguin Classics)

Pengui..., 2010
Softcover

9780807065198: Iola Leroy (Black Women Writers Series)

Beacon..., 1999
Softcover

9780195063240: Iola Leroy: Or Shadows Uplifted (The Schomburg Library of Nineteenth-Century Black Women Writers)

Oxford..., 1990
Softcover

9780554335377: Iola Leroy

Biblio..., 2008
Hardcover

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