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Description: Frederick Douglass (1818-1895) and Herman Melville (1819-1891) addressed in their writings a range of issues that continue to resonate in American culture: the reach and limits of democracy; the nature of freedom; the roles of race, gender, and sexuality; and the place of the United States in the world. Yet they are rarely discussed together, perhaps because of their differences in race and social position. Douglass escaped from slavery and tied his well-received nonfiction writing to political activism, becoming a figure of international prominence. Melville was the grandson of Revolutionary War heroes and addressed urgent issues through fiction and poetry, laboring in increasing obscurity. In eighteen original essays, the contributors to this collection explore the convergences and divergences of these two extraordinary literary lives. Developing new perspectives on literature, biography, race, gender, and politics, this volume ultimately raises questions that help rewrite the color line in nineteenth-century studies. Contributors: Elizabeth Barnes, College of William and Mary Hester Blum, The Pennsylvania State University Russ Castronovo, University of Wisconsin-Madison John Ernest, West Virginia University William Gleason, Princeton University Gregory Jay, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Carolyn L. Karcher, Washington, D.C. Rodrigo Lazo, University of California, Irvine Maurice S. Lee, Boston University Robert S. Levine, University of Maryland, College Park Steven Mailloux, University of California, Irvine Dana D. Nelson, Vanderbilt University Samuel Otter, University of California, Berkeley John Stauffer, HarvardUniversity Sterling Stuckey, University of California, Riverside Eric J. Sundquist, University of California, Los Angeles Elisa Tamarkin, University of California, Irvine Susan M. Ryan, University of Louisville David Van Leer, University of California, Davis Maurice Wallace, Duke University Robert K. Wallace, Northern Kentucky University Kenneth W. Warren, University of Chicago