Puget Sound English Department

June 27, 2009

Books on Jefferson

Filed under: Literature — O. @ 4:22 pm
Tags: , ,

monticelloAs July 4th approaches, here’s a brief list of books about Thomas Jefferson:

American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson, by John Ellis (Vintage 1998).

Thomas Jefferson: An Intimate History, by Fawn Brodie (Norton 1998).

The Portable Thomas Jefferson, by Thomas Jefferson, edited by Merrill D. Peterson (Viking/Penguin 1977).

Negro President: Jefferson and the Slave Power, by Garry Wills (Houghton Mifflin, 2003).

The Wolf by the Ears: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery, by John Chester Miller (Univ. of Virginia Press, 1991).

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3 Comments »

  1. For a 19th C. perspective, check out William Wells Brown’s awkward pastiche of a novel, Clotel; Or, the President’s Daughter (1853, if memory serves). It’s a compendium of abolitionist discourse, sentimentalism, jeremiad, and “tragic mulatta” tale, written back when just about everyone knew about Jefferson’s shadow family–before the white historiography effectively erased Sally Hemings and her children. Brown uses the heavy irony of Jefferson’s descendants–slaves fathered by the Father of Freedom–to make a powerful if inconsistent argument for abolition. It’s fascinating as a historical document, as are Brown’s other works. Happy 4th!

    Comment by atracyhale — June 27, 2009 @ 4:44 pm

  2. Thanks for the additional recommendations! Brodie’s biography was once quite controversial, is less so now after the DNA-testing.

    Comment by O. — June 27, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  3. Thanks for the additional recommendations! Brodie’s biography was once controversial, is less so now, after the DNA-testing.

    Comment by O. — June 27, 2009 @ 6:41 pm


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