J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2023

A Commonplace Article on Phillis Wheatley

Yesterday my article “Phillis Wheatley’s ‘Mrs. W—’: Identifying the Woman Who Inspired ‘Ode to Neptune’” appeared on Commonplace, the web magazine on early America.

This year marks the sestercentennial of the publication of Wheatley’s Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral.

That anniversary has prompted a lot of new scholarship, including David Waldstreicher’s biography, a reissue of Vincent Carretta’s biography, and the issue of Early American Literature I linked to yesterday. This article is my small contribution to that work.

Some folks might spot how I developed this article from material originally posted here on Boston 1775 in 2015. Since this blog could disappear with the flick of a switch at the Alphabet corporation, I looked for a more lasting place to share those findings.

It’s gratifying to see this article on Commonplace since I’ve been reading that web magazine for over twenty years now. In citing that site, I always have trouble remembering how to spell the title, and it turns out there’s a good reason for that: “Commonplace originally launched in 2000 as Common-Place: The Journal of Early American Life.”

The founding editors were Jane Kamensky and Jill Lepore, and the original institutional sponsor was the American Antiquarian Society. Today it’s an initiative of the Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture as well as the A.A.S. It no longer follows the model of academic journals with a collection of articles all published together each quarter, but rolls out material weekly and in a newsletter for subscribers. On this article I had the benefit of working with editor Joshua Greenberg and copyeditor Jordan Taylor, and I can recommend the process.

1 comment:

Peter Ansoff said...

JL, your comment that "this blog could disappear with the flick of a switch at the Alphabet corporation" made me sit up straight. Your blog is an authorative resource that I refer to often. Am I right that it's backed up somewhere?