ABOUT THIS BOOK
Cedrick May’s The Collected Works of Jupiter Hammon offers a complete look at the literary achievements of one of the founders of African American literature. Born into slavery on the Lloyd plantation in 1711, Jupiter Hammon became the first African American writer to be published in the present-day United States at the age of forty-nine. It has been decades since a collection of Hammon’s work has appeared, and May’s intensive research has yielded two additional poems, adding new layers to his works and life that, until now, have gone unexplored.
The most comprehensive volume on Hammon’s works to date, The Collected Works of Jupiter Hammon carefully reconstructs the historical, political, social, and religious contexts that shaped his essays and poems throughout the late eighteenth century. This attentive reconstruction, which takes full account of Hammon’s prose works as well as his more well-known poetry, gives readers a radical re-reading of Hammon as a much more complex and intellectually curious commentator on his historical and political period, while providing ample evidence of his literary importance and artistic integrity. Cedrick May’s fresh presentation and insightful reevaluation of Hammon’s life and writings will change the way Hammon is studied and appreciated among literary scholars and readers alike. This edition will become the definitive one for many years to come.