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"Faithfully Drawn from Real Life": Autobiographical elements in Frank J. Webb's The Garies and Their Friends

Abstract

A resurgence of interest in Frank J. Webb’s The Garies and Their Friends—the second novel by an African American and the first to portray northern racism—underscores the need for consideration of recently discovered biographical information about this enigmatic author. Previously unknown details about the lives of Frank J. Webb (1828–94) and his family and friends parallel some of his literary portrayals, subtly inform other scenes and characters, and generally help to illuminate the unique combination of biography, social history, and creative imagination that constitute Webb’s complex literary achievement.

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