Early American History Seminar: Caroline Wiggington, Rutgers University

Thursday, February 16, 2012

5:30 pm to 7:00 pm


Center for American History and Culture Programs
Early American History and Culture Seminar

“Phillis Wheatley and Forgetting to Mourn”
Caroline Wigginton, Rutgers University

This paper explores the potent role of affect, divine knowledge, and intimacy in Phillis Wheatley’s funeral elegies, especially those for children.   Placing these poems within the context of New England and African mourning rituals, I argue that she aligns herself with a community of the dead through repeatedly indicating her epistemic similarity to the deceased subjects of her elegies and her affective dissimilarity to her living audience. In doing so, she insists upon a circumscribed formulation of community that relies upon distinctions and bonds other than those of gender or race.

Scholl Center Seminar papers are pre-circulated electronically.  For a copy of the paper, e-mail the Scholl Center at scholl@newberry.org.  Please do not request a paper unless you plan to attend.