Life Writing

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  • Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave

    Published in the bicentenary year of Frederick Douglass’s birth and in a Black Lives Matter era, this edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick…

  • The Life of Mr Richard Savage

    The Life of Mr Richard Savage was the first important book by a then-unknown Grub Street hack, Samuel Johnson. Richard Savage (1697—1743) was a poet,…

  • Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, an African

    A contemporary critic described Ignatius Sancho as “what is very uncommon for men of his complexion, A man of letters.” A London shopkeeper, former butler,…

  • Domestic Manners of the Americans

    Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans, complemented by Auguste Hervieu’s satiric illustrations, took the transatlantic world by storm in 1832. An unusual combination of…

  • Letters Written during a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway, and Denmark

    “The art of travelling is only a branch of the art of thinking,” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote in one of her many reviews of works of…

  • Secret Commissions

    Lurid, controversial, and vulnerable to accusations of titillation or rabble-rousing, the works of Victorian investigative journalism collected here nonetheless brought unseen suffering into the light…

  • Autobiographical Sketches

    Annie Wood Besant (1847-1933) was a problematic and notorious figure in Victorian England, questioning and then breaking from the Anglican Church to become an atheist,…

  • Confessions of an English Opium-Eater

    Confessions of an English Opium-Eater remains its author’s most famous and frequently-read work and one of the period’s central statements about both the power and…

  • The Travels of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan

    In 1810, the orientalist scholar Charles Stewart translated and published an extraordinary travel narrative written by a Persian-speaking Indian poet and scholar named Mirza Abu…

  • Prisons and Prisoners

    Prisons and Prisoners is the autobiography of aristocratic suffragette Constance Lytton. In it, she details her militant actions in the struggle to gain the vote…

  • Nightwalkers

    This anthology makes available for the first time a selection of narratives by and about prostitutes in the eighteenth century. These memoirs, some written by…

  • Factory Lives

    Factory Lives contains four works of great importance in the field of nineteenth-century working-class autobiography: John Brown’s A Memoir of Robert Blincoe; William Dodd’s A…

  • Autobiography

    Harriet Martineau lived an extraordinary literary life. She became a reviewer and journalist in the 1820s when her family’s fortune collapsed; published a best-selling series,…

  • The Memoir of 1603 and the Diary of 1616-1619

    Anne Clifford’s memoir for the year 1603 and her diary of 1616-1619 are invaluable records of the daily life and social and family relationships of…

  • The Autobiography of Ashley Bowen (1728-1813)

    The first American sailor known to write his own autobiography, Ashley Bowen remains a valuable storyteller who can speak to today’s readers about the maritime…

  • The Idea of Being Free

    Mary Hays (1759-1843) is often best remembered for her early revolutionary novels The Memoirs of Emma Courtney and The Victim of Prejudice. In this collection,…

  • A Known Scribbler

    Frances Burney’s journals and letters, composed between 1768 and 1839, contain a unique account of the creative, social, and commercial ambitions and achievements of an…

  • The Autobiography of Margaret Oliphant

    After the death of Margaret Oliphant—the prolific nineteenth-century novelist, biographer, essayist, reviewer, and prominent voice on the “woman question”—two well-intending relatives took the autobiographical manuscripts…

  • Letters Written in France

    Helen Maria Williams was a poet, novelist, and radical thinker deeply immersed in the political struggles of the 1790s. Her Letters Written in France is…

  • The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano

    The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano was a key work of nineteenth-century slave narrative autobiography. Written and published by Equiano, a former…

  • Memoirs of the Author of A Vindication of the Rights of Woman

    William Godwin’s memoir of his wife, Mary Wollstonecraft, marks a transition in Godwin’s philosophical development from extreme rationalism to the recognition of the moral importance…

  • Improved by Cultivation

    This anthology combines some of the finest writing by such well-known writers as Leacock, Moodie, Ernest Thompson Seton and Lucy Maud Montgomery with fascinating pieces…