Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Frederick Douglass and Scotland, 1846Living an Antislavery Life$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Alasdair Pettinger

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781474444255

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474444255.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM EDINBURGH SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.edinburgh.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Edinburgh University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ESO for personal use.date: 26 May 2020

Measuring Heads, Reading Faces

Measuring Heads, Reading Faces

(p.169) Part IV Measuring Heads, Reading Faces
Frederick Douglass and Scotland, 1846

Alasdair Pettinger

Edinburgh University Press

The fourth chapter takes off from Douglass’s meeting in Edinburgh with the phrenologist George Combe in order to investigate Douglass’ complex attitudes towards mid-century racial science and visual culture. Douglass’ own suspicion of the prevailing assumption that physical appearance offered a reliable guide to character was intensified by the awareness that the novelty of his appearance was drawing audiences, already familiar with the performances of blackface minstrel troupes, which toured Scotland at the same time. It also helps to explain his willingness to overrule his Irish publisher over which portrait to use for the frontispiece of a new edition of his Narrative, after arriving in Glasgow with only a few copies left. Following the dispute in some detail, the chapter goes on to suggest why Douglass disliked the first portrait so much and took great pains to have it replaced.

Keywords:   blackface minstrelsy, character, Combe, Edinburgh, performance, phrenology, portraiture, racial science

Edinburgh Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.