Vincent Carretta

Vincent Carretta

Fellow: Awarded 2009

Field of Study: American Literature

Competition: US & Canada

Vincent Carretta is a Professor of English at the University of Maryland, specializing in the literature, history, and culture of eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century Anglophone authors, particularly those of African descent. He plans to spend the tenure of his Guggenheim Fellowship researching and writing a biography of the pioneering African-American poet, Phillis Wheatley.

During the first fifteen years of his academic career, Mr. Carretta concentrated his research on transatlantic verbal and visual literary and political satire. In addition to numerous articles, his early publications include "The Snarling Muse": Verbal and Visual Satire from Pope to Churchill (1983), and George III and the Satirists from Hogarth to Byron (1990). Mr. Carretta’s more recent scholarly direction grew directly out of his pedagogical interests. While teaching the works of early black authors he became increasingly aware of the lack of modern editions of their works. As a result, in addition to many critical articles on these authors, he has published a series of authoritative editions of their writings: Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings (1995, rev. ed. 2003); Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho, An African (1998); Quobna Ottobah Cugoano, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil of Slavery and Other Writings (1999); Phillis Wheatley, Complete Writings; and Unchained Voices: An Anthology of Black Authors in the English-Speaking World of the Eighteenth Century (1996, rev. ed. 2004). The Correspondence of Philip Quaque, which Mr. Carretta has co-edited with Ty Reese, is forthcoming. Carretta’s most recent book, Equiano, the African: Biography of a Self-Made Man (The University of Georgia Press, 2005; Penguin, 2007), received the University of Maryland’s Kirwan Faculty Research and Scholarship Prize (2007), and won the American Society for Eighteenth Century Studies 2004-06 Annibel Jenkins Prize for Best Biography of the Year.

Vincent Carretta has received grants and fellowships from the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Research in the Humanities, University of Wisconsin, Madison, the University of London, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the John Carter Brown Library, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Huntington Library, the American Philosophical Society, and the Yale Center for British Art and British Studies, as well as research support from the University of Maryland.