Twelve Years A Slave (W.W. Norton Critical Edition, 2017) offers the autobiography of Solomon Northup, based on the 1853 first edition. It is accompanied by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin Burke’s introduction and detailed explanatory footnotes.
Solomon Northup was a New York State-born free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, DC, in 1841 and sold into slavery. Northup worked on plantations in the state of Louisiana for 12 years before his release.
The Norton Critical Edition also includes:
· The illustrations printed in the original book.
· Contemporary sources (1853 to 62), among them newspaper accounts of Northup’s kidnapping and ordeal and commentary by Frederick Douglass, Harriet Beecher Stowe, and Thomas W. MacMahon.
· A Genealogy of Secondary Sources (1880 to 2015) presenting twenty-four voices spanning three centuries on the memoir’s major themes. Contributors include George Washington Williams, Marion Wilson Starling, Kenneth Stampp, Robert B. Stepto, Trish Loughran, and David Fiske, Clifford W. Brown, Jr., and Rachel Seligman, among others.
· The 2013 film adaptation — 12 Years a Slave — fully considered, with criticism and major reviews of the film as well as Henry Louis Gates’s three interviews with its director, Steve McQueen.
· A Chronology and Selected Bibliography.
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