№12 2022

УДК / UDK: 82-1


Author: Olga Yu. Panova
About the author:

Olga Yu. Panova, Doctor Hab. in Philology, Professor, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Leninskie Gory 1, building 51, 119991 Moscow, Russia; Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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The role of Christianity as a factor that exerted a decisive influence over African American social and cultural history, is being debated time and again in the course of African American studies. The ambivalent attitude of the 18th –19th century Christian preachers and missionaries to slavery, egalitarian tendencies that combined with the idea of humility and resignation, led to contradictions and controversy in the evaluation of the role Christianity played in Afroamerica. The case of Jupiter Hammon (1711 –1806?), a preacher and the first Black Christian poet in America, illustrates the emergence of the basic topoi in the pre-war Blackamerican literary tradition: conversion to Christianity and literacy (enculturation) as two essential conditions for the acknowledgement of Black humanity and ability to integrate into the New World civilization. Jupiter Hammon refused to struggle against slavery; paradoxically, however, his work is an inherent part of both African American religious and cultural history and the New England Christian thought, that engendered Abolitionism and its most famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, or Life among the Lowly (1852), based on the concept of the “religious genius” of the African and the “Black redemption” of the greatest American vice, slavery.

Keywords: poetry, African American literature, Jupiter Hammon, Christianity, topoi.
For citation:

Panova, Olga. “‘Beholding the Lamb of God’: Jupiter Hammon, the First America’s Black Christian Poet.” Literature of the Americas, no. 12 (2022): 198–212. 


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