Item #List2409 To Maecenas [First Appearance, in The Scots Magazine, September 1773 - Entire Issue Offered]. African-Americana - Poetry, Phyllis Wheatley.
To Maecenas [First Appearance, in The Scots Magazine, September 1773 - Entire Issue Offered]

To Maecenas [First Appearance, in The Scots Magazine, September 1773 - Entire Issue Offered]

Edinburgh: Scots Magazine, 1773. First Edition. 8vo, [450] - 504 pp, disbound from larger collected volume, complete. Contents fine, binding split, very good. Item #List2409

The first appearance of Phyllis Wheatley’s “On Maecenas,” published in September, 1773, the same month that her Poems on Various Subjects was headed to the printer, and likely predating the form in its collected version. The introduction to the poem reads “The first, but not superior to some others of the negro girl Phillis Wheatley’s poems.” Poems on Various Subjects was printed in 1773, with some copies being sent to Boston on the Dartmouth, which was one of the targets of the Boston Tea Party - though the books were spared as the protesters were only interested in the tea onboard.” In To Maecenas (1773) this black poet, whose writing and publishing activity was wholly unprecedented, tried on a series of identities she had encounteredin her reading of classical authors, in a transparent quest to identify and formulate a poetic persona adequate to self-description. She first adopts the voice of Horace, a freedman’s son, in order to address her patron (ironically, her “Maecenas” was almost certainly another woman, Selina Hastings, Countess of Huntingdon and a prominent Methodist patron of black Britons); she then asserts her inability to rise to Homeric orVergilian heights, but assumes the persona of Patroclus begging to borrow Achilles’ armor in the Iliad(16.21–45) (Wheatley 2001, 9–10). As ab lack woman, she is as unskilled but as well intentioned in relation to the history of white male poets as Patroclus was as a warrior in relation to Achilles.” - Hall, Edith. “Subjects, Selves and Survivors,” in Helios, Vol. 34, No. 2, Fall, 2007.

Price: $2,000.00