Clotel
Second Edition, Revised   ©2011

Clotel

Or, The President's Daughter: A Narrative of Slave Life in the United States

William Wells Wells Brown , Robert Levine (University of Maryland)

  • ISBN-10: 0-312-62107-8; ISBN-13: 978-0-312-62107-0; Format: Paper Text

Clotel; or The President's Daughter (1853), the first published novel by an African American, has recently emerged as a canonical text for courses in African American as well as nineteenth-century American literature courses. The story was inspired by the rumored sexual relationship between Thomas Jefferson and his slave Sally Hemings, and this edition of Clotel is the only one to reprint selections from the key texts and cultural documents that Brown drew on (and even appropriated) when he wrote his novel.
 
The streamlined second edition includes an updated introduction that incorporates the explosion of scholarship on the novel over the past decade, when proof of the relationship between Jefferson and Hemings emerged. In addition to their attention to this relationship, the cultural documents focus more directly on the texts about slavery and race that Brown drew on, and on Brown's own controversial approach to writing and revising Clotel.