It seems to me that contemporary readers have two primary avenues of reading Phillis Wheatley open to them. The first is as a precocious but merely imitative and, ultimately, mediocre poet whose works appealed to the desire to put a sympathetic face to the institution of slavery. The second reading renders us a savvy, purposefully intertextual poet whose works eschewed opaque originality in order to conform to the fashions of the day and ensure a place in the publishing world while simultaneously providing a venue for subversive messages, in the mode of eighteenth-century satire. Much has been made of the tendency to read Wheatley solely or primarily for her novelty as the first African American woman poet, but few strides have been made in actually assessing her work on its own merits. The most recent monograph by John C. Shields, also editor of the Oxford edition of Wheatley’s collected works and prominent writer on her work, is actually dedicated principally to resituating her as a proto-Romantic poet, rather than attending to the work itself. I hope this essay will be a step in the direction of remedying this tendency, while also foregrounding Wheatley’s agency and authorship of her work (another often neglected aspect of studies done on her), by looking at the elements therein which suggest the presence of not just a canny, but a witty, even satiric mind.

Perhaps the most repeated critique of Wheatley is the section of Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia, in which he decries Wheatley as a pious imitator, but not a poet. To say this view has pervaded criticism of her work might be a slight over-reach, but to suggest it has colored the way in which we read her, seems a fair concession. Too often there is an apologetic bent to writing on Wheatley that belittles her work even as it uplifts her status as a major forebear of African American literature. In part, this almost knee-jerk disregard for her work and style owes to the pervasive unpopularity of Restoration and Augustan poetry in general, a turn from the neo-classical that was, by the end of Wheatley’s life, coming to the fore in anticipation of Romanticism. Her use of classical forms, like the ode, in her own time, was perceived as demonstrating her learning, but not her ingenuity, and is often read today, I fear, as simple stodginess. The danger inherent in periodization in the discipline of English Literature, lies in the disproportionate study of one period over another, such that the Restoration and its major writers, from Behn to Dryden to Pope, are often compared unfavorably to the writers of the 17th century, to the detriment of meaningful study on the latter’s works. One need only glance at the scholarship surrounding Restoration reworkings of Shakespeare to see the modern distaste for the moralism and return to traditionalism that accompanied the fall of Cromwell’s protectorate. What’s more, I believe the failures in scholarship surrounding Wheatley owe not only to this general distaste for neo-classical and Restoration moralism and style, but to a failure to recognize Wheatley’s use of formal constraints as a boon, rather than a detraction, from her innate talents. To read Wheatley’s use of the ode as a suggestion of a lack of imagination is to ignore the position of an educated black woman in Boston society. Wheatley required letters of endorsement for the verification of her authorship before being published. One can only imagine the pressures placed upon an African American woman of the time to demonstrate learning while skirting the line of originality, such that her work could be accepted by a reading public characterized, as all reading publics are, by an aversion to novelty, particularly when combined with the fact of her race and sex being, themselves, novel. In this way, I read Wheatley’s poetry as constrained doubly by her choice of form and by the reality of her social position. To read her use of the heroic couplet as laziness, is not only to disregard an entire period in poetry, and the many great works of Pope, but also to misread Wheatley as thoughtless, when, in fact, few authors of her period took such evident pains in both the composition of their works, and the shepherding of those works to press in a marketable and beautiful form[1]. Wheatley, then, is no more trite than the composer of a villanelle; her constraints simply went beyond those of rhyme scheme, meter, and content. They encompassed the monolithic expectations of the peoples whose skin color she happened to share.

Marketing concerns proper were also, doubtless, a factor in Wheatley’s composition and selection of which poems to publish and in what order. Books were still expensive and precious commodities. Wheatley knew this intimately, as she was beneficiary of the libraries of her local parish and wealthy acquaintances of the Wheatley family. By catering to the tastes of those whose class could afford to own slaves, Wheatley ensured her place not only in the libraries of those British abolitionists to whom she directly sued for publication, but also in the libraries of their slave owning contemporaries, Thomas Jefferson for example, whose opinions she might not change but might elicit and thereby gain notoriety by that most classic of maxims, that any press is good press.

Wheatley was also keenly aware of the expectations placed upon her, not only as a member of the Wheatley household, but as an African American and a slave. Spike Lee’s “magical negro” is a trope precisely because African Americans kept such multifarious expectations juggled in improbable stasis. Their survival depended upon being seen as savage (paradoxically both threatening and unthreatening) and as sagacious. In a world in which the horrors visited upon slaves were anything but occluded from view, the stunning level of necessary doublethink required of white Americans necessitated the occasional uplifting of outstanding members of subject races against whom the rest of the unruly lot could be set and found wanting. The trend, like the empire, never ended. Even today, one finds for every Della Reese portraying the matronly angel and mentor to the gallingly white and gallic Roma Downey in Touched by An Angel, the antithesis in the image of the irate black woman whose very rebellion against the system of her oppression and whose urban patois belies the reading of the idyllic, erudite, nigh white grandmother.

Just as unpacking the trope of the magical negro requires the introduction of comedy (see Key and Peele’s sketches featuring Obama’s anger translator, Luther, or their sketch actually entitled Magical Negro), so too does unpacking the legacy of Phillis Wheatley as merely a pretender to poetry necessitate a recognition of the pernicious and nigh universal assumptions levied towards any black woman who makes concessions, however necessary, to the white society in which they live. I hope, through setting her works alongside those of eighteenth century satirists with whose broader oeuvres we are certain she was familiar, and by simultaneously re-centering her through the consideration of her unpublished poems and personal correspondence, such as with contemporary figure Samson Occom, that we might better understand not only the cleverness of her work, but also marvel at the ways in which she approaches race as just another poetic constraint, no different, in her most transcendent work, from pentameter or the form of an Horatian ode.

If the greatest risk posed by such a reading is the introduction of anachronistic agency to Wheatley, perhaps this is a worthy gambit. It would be unjust to force Wheatley’s work into the vein of contemporary Afro-American poetics or to unduly burden it with the weight of abolitionist sentiment which it concealed, if it betrayed such an intent at all. That said, it would be the more unwise to deprive the canon of the first African American woman poet, and one whose work gestures forward to the titanic gifts of Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison. Supposition is all that most criticism can offer, and to suppose that Wheatley, whose reading was both broad and deep (as evidenced in her own work and her correspondence) was unfamiliar with the strategies of concealing a rapier wit in honeyed words would be a disservice to her education and community. Wheatley was canny, aware of her audience, in tune with the pulse of current events and the tide of history. To read her work, as many have, as an apologia for slavery and to deny any trace of irony, even self-awareness therein is to do a disservice to the work of one of early America’s most gifted writers.

But where, then, is the satire? We know with some certainty that Wheatley proudly owned the complete works of Pope, including his Longinian satire, Peri Bathous, subtitled, the Art of Sinking in Poetry, in which Pope excoriates Longinus’ thesis that the sublime heights of poetry lay in the imitation of the successful works of the past, Homer in particular. Ironic, then, that Pope’s own work dwelt upon such themes, often using them to re-contextualize contemporary society. Wheatley evidently never embraced the distaste for the borrowing of language and the evocation of the classics which Pope, in word, if not in deed, decried. This alone would seem refutation enough of accusations of unoriginality. While Shields upholds her “long poem” really a collection of three adjacent pieces in Wheatley’s sole book, as a proto-Romantic paean to the individual imagination, her use of intertextual references and classical forms actually suggests a far more complex engagement with the canon, rather than a sophomoric attempt to distance herself from it and, like many of the Romantics and Pope as well, have her cake and eat it too.

If we take this middle-way reading of Wheatley a step further, then it opens the door to a reading of her works as purposefully crafted in these classical styles for contemporary purposes. Augustan panegyric had already, by the 1680s thoroughly overinflated poetic diction with almost nonsensical overstatements of virtue as applied to the subject, typically military leaders or the restored monarch Charles II, a tendency which helped to create a market for satirical verse that borrowed this tendency and extended it a step further, into parody.

Wheatley was an avid reader of Milton and likely had access to the works of Marvell, including his political works which were sporadically collected prior to the Thompson edition of his works in the 1780s. Nonetheless, Wheatley had ample opportunity to read works of panegyric both sincere and tongue in cheek and must have known that there was precedent in the use of neo-classical homage and inflated language for concealing barbs against authority. As Marsha Watson writes, as “eighteenth-century writers and readers understood it, imitation is closely analogous to Kristeva’s concept of intertextuality as absorption and transformation” (Watson 111). Watson focuses on the transformative aspect of intertextuality, and, I argue this extends to the satire as a genre as well, built, as it is, upon a foundation of honest words rendered disingenuous by social context. This is not, by any stretch of the imagination, to say that every instance of Wheatley’s classicism or Longinian (even Miltonic) gestures to the sublime (as in her numerous invocations of the muses) was penned with satiric intent, merely to open the reading to possibility, as we shall see in the examples to follow.

            Complicating matters is the fact that so much of satire of the period, anonymously circulated or not, was dependent upon the writer’s assumption of a sympathetic audience, one which would readily decode the work’s subterfuge and intuit its true meaning. Assuming Marvell were a lesser poet, one might read the Advice to a Painter series as merely an imitation of a successful work of royalist panegyric, just as to the uninitiated, one might read into Swift’s Modest Proposal a sincere fervor for the consumption of Irish babies. What Wheatley’s poetry lacks, in this respect, then, is the assumption of such an audience. Certainly, there were abolitionists who would read the mere fact of her writing at all as an argument for universal emancipation, but Wheatley wrote directly to many such, including Samson Occom, and apparently felt little peril in stating more or less abolitionist sentiments. That letter, for instance, was published in a newspaper of the era. No, what one must look to in order to discern the possibility of satire in Wheatley is her imaginative powers, her ability to envision a future in which her words would become legible. Her imaginative capacity set her to envision herself, following her emancipation upon the death of her mistress, as like a barbarian upon return to Africa, the course recommended her by a friend of the family. Inculcated into the Anglo-American way of life, Wheatley could no more conceive of returning to the land from which she was stolen at the age of 7, than she could imagine adopting the tongue she no longer spoke. To be so returned to her past would be to render her, once more, the abject and other in a land civilized in ways she could not understand. Wheatley situated herself within a conversation which she could only envision the possibility therefor, a conversation amongst writers of African heritage whose culture, by providence and not choice, was American, and whose work would face the uphill battle of speaking to the literacy of the white patriarchy while not being entirely subsumed by it. This balancing act is largely what has relegated Wheatley’s work to the study of her novelty as the first published African American woman poet. These categorical accolades, even today, broadly overshadow her work as such, and even her most ardent proponents seem to dismiss her as a lesser poet whose novelty far outstrips the quality of her verse. This is an unfair pronouncement and largely the product of ignoring the work itself, a corpus which is challenging for a number of reasons to modern sensibilities and to the burgeoning Romantic sensibilities of the time which increasingly treated the quality of Augustan verse as stodgy and lacking in inspiration, something, like Vermouth to the martini of Noel Coward, to be gestured towards, but never indulged in. The fact that Wheatley was educated in the classics and was perceived as insufficiently breaking with them (a course which, had she undertaken it, would doubtless have consigned her work to the dust heap of history, for it would never have been published) is a grand irony, considering the originality of her work when viewed on its own terms. How easily one forgets that the new meets with resistance, a resistance which Wheatley’s race and sex would have rendered insurmountable.

            Satire, of course, comes in many varieties, among them, the classic of damning with faint praise, but the opposite means was the primary mode of eighteenth-century writers. For Marvell and other political writers of the day, the method of using the invocation of the original to fashion a contrary vision, the more glaring in its critical gall for its assumption of the form of flattery. The Advice to a Painter series purposefully uses the premise of the original panegyric, instructions to a painter designed to allow them to accurately portray the grandeur of their subject(s) to, instead, highlight the iniquities of many of the personalities involved in the Anglo-Dutch wars.

            Shields also seems to sense this possibility in Wheatley, writing that “this ’look’ of order assisted Wheatley in her subversive undertaking to give her overwhelmingly white readers the appearance of innocuousness; had she ‘looked’ bolder–that is, had she adopted the looser stanzas of a Collins, for example–her rebellious theoretics may have been more readily detectable” (Phillis Wheatley and the Romantics 60-1). This gets at the rub, namely that the better part of satire is its deniability. If practiced correctly, the satire is legible only to those for whom its humor is intended. In panegyric, especially, the height of the form lay in the question of whether it was publishable. Marvell’s Horatian Ode Upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland was retracted from most copies of the 1681 poems, precisely, one supposes out of fear it might be too legible (Marvell and Smith 267). Had Marvell not also been active in politics, this might have been more excusable, as his jibes, even were they legible to the Lord Protector, might be more easily excused as the Protector’s own desire to read himself in such a light, where the verses not composed by a parliamentarian contemporary. The satirical elements were leavened, too, by Marvell’s desire to support the Protectorate for its strides towards parliamentarian rule, even as, pragmatist that he was, he attended to the failings of the military dictatorship. As Smith notes in his introduction to The First Anniversary of the Government under H.H. the Lord Protector, Marvell was writing against anti-protectorate propaganda that used the method of damning Cromwell through over-inflated praise, for example: “Indeed, my Lord, you’r mightier then a King,/He brings in glittering Trains, but you the Spring.’ 1 (13–20 March 1654)” (Marvell and Smith 284). This propagandist piece may seem, at first, to simply exalt Cromwell above a royal position, but by its suggestion that he brings the Spring, actually exalts him above God, a blasphemy that would have sat poorly with the devout Cromwell. Nigel Smith also notes that this defense of Cromwell, unlike the Horatian Ode, does not ”adhere strictly to the pattern of an extant poetic genre” perhaps marking this poem as a response to, and not a satire in itself (Marvell and Smith 285). Layers of irony may quickly overcomplicate, particularly in a poem as steeped in contemporary politics as Marvell’s. The idea of insulting through praise, however, was not new, and would be used by Marvell to great effect in the Advice to a Painter series. It can be difficult to discern the exact nature of the satire if one does not attend to the religious context, however. Marvell, as Nigel Smith notes, would echo Cromwell’s own posturing in the use of millennial language (anticipating the return of Christ) in his defense of Cromwell as superior to monarchs, though, subject to God. To place a leader above god, was to make the satire transparent and dangerously reprehensible. Translating this same idea to Boston in the 1760s and 70s, the Puritan belief system would have made such a laudatory posture dangerously blasphemous, such that Wheatley, if we take her to be incorporating satire into her work, would never have crossed that line, for she always sought publication.

            For Wheatley, the composition of her own royalist panegyric was doubtless, at least in part, inspired by her desire to publish her work. Her earliest extant proposal dates to 1772 and was sent to a Boston publisher, but one suspects, given the family’s understanding of their public and their familiarity with men like Olaudah Equiano, that Wheatley was cognizant even as early as 1768 (the date of composition for To the King’s Most Excellent Majesty) of the greater likelihood of her work finding a home in England.

“The fact that each of the three poems which constitute, for Shields, her “Long Poem” assume the loose form of the lyric, Horatian ode, however, mitigates the strict rhythm of their closed couplets” (Shields Phillis Wheatley and the Romantics 60). Shields uses this conception of Wheatley’s tri-partite “long poem” to tie her to Romanticism, however it is interesting, also, to note that her use of the ode form for perhaps her most abstract ruminations, complicating the idea that her use of classicism is unrelated to her originality. Though the ode is a freer poetic form, Wheatley still reaches back to construct her poems, partly, perhaps, out of a cognizance of the limits of public indulgence for novelty, but also, I argue, because she recognizes the potential in such forms and their afterlives for the concealment and development of poetic agency and satiric bite.

“YOUR subjects hope, dread Sire–

The crown upon your brows may flourish long,

And that your arm may in your God be strong!

O may your scepter num’rous nations sway,

And all with love and readiness obey!

But how shall we the British king reward!

Rule thou in peace, our father, and our lord!

Midst the remembrance of thy favours past,

The meanest peasants most admire the last.

May George, belov’d by all the nations round,

Live with heav’ns choices constant blessings crown’d!

Great God, direct, and guard him from on high,

And from his head let ev’ry evil fly!

And may each clime with equal gladness see

A monarch’s smile can set his subjects free!

            To The King’s Most Excellent Majesty is Wheatley’s sole royalist poem, and a fine example of her potential for concealing satire in her work. From the outset, the adjective “dread” likens the King to God, but also emphasizes his martial power. The crown being upon the king’s brows, suggests it is ill fitting, to a canny reader, perhaps also suggesting weight and Shakespeare’s Henry IV’s line that “heavy is the head, that wears the crown.” Wheatley, of course, subjects the king to God in the third line, possibly also suggesting that the loyalty he ought to command is only through God, a puritanical sentiment that would have registered, but not rankled. In her emphasis on “British” in line six, Wheatley opens the possibility of reading it as a suggestion that the British king is not necessarily the king of America, a reading perhaps underscored by “may your scepter num’rous nations sway” which exalts the colonies to the status of nation states. Wheatley may also have intended the double entendre of the George as both King George III and George Washington, as Washington’s political ambitions ramped up from 1768-9, in which year he presented legislation to the Virginia assembly to establish an embargo on British goods. His efforts were doubtless at least in part responsible for the repeal of the Stamp Act, the event which occasioned Wheatley’s poem, creating a tension in the final stanza, because she could be praising the king for his repeal or Washington for his actions which precipitated the repeal. The latter reading is, of course, supported by her later support of the Continental forces and Washington in particular during the Revolution (years after her goal of publication in Britain had already been realized and she had already attained her freedom from the Wheatley family whose royalist leanings may also have occasioned this panegyric. Also, in support of this reading of the double entendre is the fact that Wheatley often italicizes names as a matter of course, but also uses them for the implied emphasis, as In her many references to herself as an “Ethiop” to Christian congregants, a sermonly turn akin to the rhetorical device of casting oneself as, not an authority, but still the wiser.

            After attaining her freedom, Wheatley gained greater confidence in expressing her sentiments, particularly against slavery. This period also saw the composition of some of her poems in praise of military figures, including George Washington, to whom she sent a poem of praise, accompanied by a letter which, as Jarrett notes, included both her fore and surname, a demonstration of her position that was not reciprocated by Washington who wrote back to “Phillis.” She wrote, by way of preface


I Have taken the freedom to address your Excellency in the enclosed poem, and entreat your acceptance, though I am not insensible of its inaccuracies.” (Wheatley 88)

 The posture “taken” is one of claiming freedom, a bold turn of phrase that could only have been uttered as a free woman. Reading Wheatley as merely praising Washington and using the formal style of the time would be to ignore her familiarity with forms of address both epistolary and poetic. Later, she writes

“Proceed, great chief, with virtue on thy side,

Thy ev’ry action let the goddess guide.

A crown, a mansion, and a throne that shine,

With gold unfading, WASHINGTON! Be thine.” (Wheatley 90 lines 39-42)

The command is typical of panegyric but also of its satirical counterpart, such that the “proceed” read in the right light, can be interpreted as imperious, even chiding, while the command to keep “virtue on thy side” can suggest either its presence already, or a chastisement imploring him to get virtue on his side. Additionally, the reference to the goddess suggests, not a re-gendering of the divine, but an invocation to the muses whom Wheatley often conflates with a divine maternal being. Wheatley next conjures the images of royalty, a set of images which, to Washington would doubtless have been unwelcome, if not anathema. One could read this as Wheatley’s genuine hope for Washington to become ruler of the country in perpetuity, or as a warning against the taking up of such authority, an anxiety which already pervaded the would-be nation state.

            In An Horatian Ode upon Cromwell’s Return from Ireland Marvell wrote

“The forward youth that would appear

Must now forsake his Muses dear,

Nor in the shadows sing

His numbers languishing:” (lines 1-4)

Perhaps Wheatley had read this poem and purposefully countered its imploration that the would-be king “forsake his Muses dear.” Wheatley’s poem congratulates Washington on his appointment as Generalissimo of the Continental forces, where Marvell bemoans the decline of the protectorate. Earlier in her poem, Wheatley also evokes the muses when she she commands “Muse! Bow propitious while my pen relates/How pour her armies through a thousand gates” (lines 13-4) This could refer to the goddess, Columbia, but could also directly refer to the muse guiding Washington in the war against the British, again subsuming him to divinity, but not the divinity of a Puritan god, as she had George III.

            Wheatley also provides the possibility of a satirical reading in her unpublished poems addressed to Atheists and Deists. In Atheism (1767), Wheatley again adopts a sermonly tone, asserting her moral authority by saying “Tis I that saves thee from the deepest hell/Minerva teach thee all thy days to tell” (lines 43-4) (Wheatley 67-8). She augments this authority the more in her more audacious poem Deism (1767), addressed, one supposes, to many of the most powerful men in the land, among them Thomas Jefferson, whose much later condemnation of her poetry, as mentioned, remains the most repeated critique of her work in the scholarly debate on her poetry.

“Must Ethiopians be imploy’d for you/Greatly rejoice if any good I do/I ask O unbeliever satan’s child/Has not thy savior been to meek & mild/The auspicious rays that round his head do shine/Do still declare him to be christ divine” (lines 1-6) (Wheatley 70-2)

Her boldest poem and sentiment expressed before attaining her freedom, this poem reads as a broadside attack on Jefferson and a witty one at that. By addressing the poem to an unnamed individual, Wheatley uses a time-honored tactic in satire of forcing the object of derision to self-identify, and embarrass themselves in the process, if they wish to register a complaint about the portrayal. Likening the deist to the anti-Christ is particularly daring, but it is the next line which reifies the agency she claimed in Atheism. The line, “Has not thy savior been to meek and mild” could be read as referring to Jesus, but can also, by the line break positioning, be read as referring to Wheatley herself. The first line, too, can be read as an attack on the institution of slavery, or as the complaint of a self-proclaimed Ethiop who is beleaguered by having to instruct unbelievers. Byerman, seems also to subscribe, at least in part, to this reading (401)

            Once again, this technique of boldly addressing an unnamed individual by their features or their deeds has a long history in satire, and Marvell’s Statue at Charing Cross, is a fine example. Marvell uses the fact that the statue was likely originally a likeness of a Polish general, rather than Charles II, in order to lambast the King without necessarily doing so directly. Nonetheless, the poem, likely written between 1672 and 1674 went unpublished until the late 1680s. This creation of an effective straw man, or unflattering statue, is a similar technique to that used by Wheatley in her attack on Deism.

            Many more examples could, and doubtless will, be furnished, to support such readings of Wheatley as perspicacious and self-empowering in the years to come. Let us, then, say that Wheatley is displaying her agency through her work, rhetorically empowering herself foremost, though her project extends to all of her race and sex as well. To see Wheatley as an individualist is, I think, to read her correctly. We must recall that, though camaraderie amongst slaves was common, even then, cotton was not yet king and the full horrors of plantation slavery were not yet on the horizon, making Wheatley’s experience as a relatively well-treated house slave, not uncommon. Hence, she would likely have been brought up to admire the individualism of men like Jefferson, Adams, and Washington, not to mention the preachers of the era, many of whom were friends of the Wheatley family. To find their influence, one must only look to Wheatley’s many elegies which often take a sermonly form and command the mourners to take solace in the promise of Heaven. Henry Louis Gates Jr., as Watson notes, is particularly attentive to Wheatley’s elegies as precursors to more overtly abolitionist works.

            That said, does the exercise of agency in her work, particularly the unpublished poems explored in this essay, amount to a qualitative analysis of her work, itself? That is best left to the reader, but to read her work, not as African nor African American, not as Neo-Classicist, and not as Romantic, but as complicated by audience and personal will and ambition is to ascribe to Wheatley an intentionality few have permitted her. Only when we sincerely answer the question of her use of classicism can we begin to understand her work on its own merits.

Works Cited

Keith Byerman. “Talking Back: Phillis Wheatley, Race, and Religion.” Religions, vol. 10, no. 6,            2019, p. 401.

Jarrett, Gene Andrew. “‘To Refute Mr. Jefferson’s Arguments Respecting Us’: ‘Thomas        Jefferson, David Walker, and the Politics of Early African American Literature.” Early     American Literature, vol. 46, no. 2, 2011, pp. 291–318.

Marvell, Andrew, and Smith, Nigel. The Poems of Andrew Marvell. Rev. ed., Pearson Longman, 2007.

Pope, Alexander. Peri Bathous : of the Art of Sinking in Poetry [in Miscellanies …]. Proquest LLC, 1999.

Shields, John C. Phillis Wheatley and the Romantics. 1st ed., University of Tennessee Press, 2010.

Shields, John C. “Phillis Wheatley’s Use of Classicism.” American Literature, vol. 52, no. 1, 1980, pp.   97–111.

Watson, Marsha. “A Classic Case: Phillis Wheatley and Her Poetry.” Early American Literature,           vol. 31, no. 2, 1996, p. 103.

Wheatley, Phillis, and Carretta, Vincent. Complete Writings. Penguin Books, 2001.

[1] See Wheatley’s proposals for publication in Phillis Wheatley Complete Writing 165-70