In addition to its far-reaching impact on the antislavery movement in the United States and abroad, Douglass's fugitive slave narrative won recognition for its literary excellence, which has since earned it a place among the classics of nineteenth-century American autobiography. This Norton Critical Edition reprints the 1845 first edition of Douglass's compelling work. Explanatory annotations accompany the text. A rich selection of "Contexts" provides the reader with contemporary perspectives. Included are the little-known preface that Douglass wrote in 1846 for the second Irish edition; a public exchange of letters between A. C. C. Thompson, a former slaveholder, and Douglass; three autobiographical portraits of Douglass's parents; Douglass's account of his escape from slavery, which he chose not to include in the 1845 Narrative; samples of Douglass's use of his slave experience in two of his most influential antislavery speeches; and reminiscences by James Monroe Gregory and Elizabeth Cady Stanton of Douglass as both orator and friend. "Criticism" collects six essential assessments of the Narrative's historical and literary aspects, by William S. McFeely, Peter Ripley, Robert B. Stepto, William L. Andrews, Houston A. Baker, Jr., and Deborah E. McDowell. A Chronology and a Selected Bibliography are included.