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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines the conception of American literature as philosophy. It aims to present a reading of Frederick Douglass's thinking on examples and the philosophical freight they carry, and describes the relevant works of William Wells Brown. The article explores how Douglass navigated concerns about the relationship between theory and example in “Self-Made Men,” and argues that literary critics should be careful to avoid the doctrinaire application of all philosophical ideas and theoretical models.

Keywords: American literature, philosophy, Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, literary critics, philosophical ideas, theoretical models

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