Poems on Various Subjects

The acclaimed collection by the first published African American female poet

Published in 1773, Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects caused a sensation in Great Britain and its American colonies. Voltaire sang her praises and George Washington invited her to visit him. An extraordinary education provided by the Boston family of her owner, John Wheatley, allowed Phillis to work from a deep knowledge of Homer, Virgil, Ovid, Milton, and Pope. Overcoming doubts about her works' authorship, she became a celebrity at age eighteen and the first published African American female poet in history.

In this beautiful digital facsimile of the first edition of Phillis Wheatley's Poems on Various Subjects, Ronald William Bailey offers fresh insights for students wanting to understand Wheatley's work and fame, as well as her place in history and literature. In addition to Bailey's introduction, the digital edition includes a high-quality facsimile, a searchable transcript, and a virtual visit to the vault with a rare book curator.

Like all volumes in the Women in Print series, Poems on Various Subjects is provided as an open access book and downloads to a wide variety of platforms and online e-readers.

Phillis Wheatley was born in West Africa around 1753 and brought to Boston as a slave in 1761. Though emancipated in 1778, Wheatley fell into poverty, and her second volume of poems remained unpublished. She died in 1784. Ronald William Bailey is a professor of African American studies at the Center for African Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His books include Introduction to Afro-American Studies: A Peoples College Primer (with Abdul Alkalimat), Remembering Medgar Evers--for a New Generation, and Lower Roxbury: A Community of Treasures in the City of Boston.

To order online:

To order by phone:
(800) 621-2736 (USA/Canada)
(773) 702-7000 (International)

Related Titles

previous book next book
The Selected Papers of Jane Addams - Cover
The Selected Papers of Jane Addams

vol. 3: Creating Hull-House and an International Presence, 1889-1900

Jane Addams Edited by Mary Lynn McCree Bryan, Maree de Angury, and Ellen Skerrett

To Turn the Whole World Over - Cover
To Turn the Whole World Over

Black Women and Internationalism

Edited by Keisha N. Blain and Tiffany M. Gill

Scandinavians in Chicago - Cover
Scandinavians in Chicago

The Origins of White Privilege in Modern America

Erika K. Jackson

To Live Here, You Have to Fight - Cover
To Live Here, You Have to Fight

How Women Led Appalachian Movements for Social Justice

Jessica Wilkerson

Transforming Women’s Education - Cover
Transforming Women’s Education

Liberal Arts and Music in Female Seminaries

Jewel A. Smith

All Our Trials - Cover
All Our Trials

Prisons, Policing, and the Feminist Fight to End Violence

Emily L. Thuma

Homeland Maternity - Cover
Homeland Maternity

US Security Culture and the New Reproductive Regime

Natalie Fixmer-Oraiz