African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook by Emmanuel S. Nelson, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook

African American Autobiographers: A Sourcebook

by Emmanuel S. Nelson
     
 

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There is growing popular and scholarly interest in autobiography, along with increasing regard for the achievements of African American writers. The first reference of its kind, this volume chronicles the autobiographical tradition in African American literature. Included are alphabetically arranged entries for 66 African American authors who present

Overview

There is growing popular and scholarly interest in autobiography, along with increasing regard for the achievements of African American writers. The first reference of its kind, this volume chronicles the autobiographical tradition in African American literature. Included are alphabetically arranged entries for 66 African American authors who present autobiographical material in their works. The volume profiles major figures, such as Frederick Douglass, Zora Neale Hurston, Richard Wright, Maya Angelou, James Baldwin, and Malcolm X, along with many lesser known autobiographers who deserve greater attention. While some are known primarily for their literary accomplishments, others have gained acclaim for their diverse contributions to society.

The entries are written by expert contributors and provide authoritative information about their subjects. Each begins with a concise biography, which summarizes the life and achievements of the autobiographer. This is followed by a discussion of major autobiographical works and themes, along with an overview of the autobiographer's critical reception. The entries close with primary and secondary bibliographies, and a selected, general bibliography concludes the volume. Together, the entries provide a detailed portrait of the African American autobiographical tradition from the 18th century to the present.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In this unique reference tool, Nelson (English, SUNY at Cortland), the author or editor of numerous scholarly articles and books (e.g., Contemporary African American Novelists), has solicited contributions from mostly published literary scholars on representative African American authors whose works include autobiography or autobiographical material. The authors profiled, who date from the 18th century to the present, include such literary figures as Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston as well as such nonliterary figures as Duke Ellington, Dick Gregory, and Frederick Douglass. The autobiographies range from captivity narratives and slave narratives to spiritual autobiographies and modern works that reveal the "fictionality of all constructed selves." Each of the 66 alphabetically arranged entries offers up-to-date biographical, critical, and bibliographical information, but the scope varies quite a bit from one entry to the next. The biographical sketches, for example, run from a single paragraph to six or seven pages in length. Although this is a well-structured compilation, it would have had more reference value if more authors had been included, even if that had meant shorter entries. The book simply cries out for a revised second edition. Suitable for larger academic and public libraries. Peter Dollard, Alma Coll., MI Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Framing the cultural conflict between US blacks and whites as partly a clash between orality and literacy, Nelson (English, State U. of New York, Cortland) explains that autobiographical narrative surfaced as the primary genre of African Americans when black literacy emerged. This volume provides an introduction to the diversity of writing in this tradition from the mid-18th century to the late 1990s. The 67 voices represented range alphabetically from Elizabeth Laura Adams to Richard Wright. Entries include the author's biography, autobiographical works and themes, and critical reception; and a bibliography of works and studies. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780313314094
Publisher:
ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/30/2002
Pages:
434
Product dimensions:
6.14(w) x 9.21(h) x 0.94(d)
Lexile:
1330L (what's this?)

Meet the Author

EMMANUEL S. NELSON is Professor of English at State University of New York College at Cortland. Author of more than 40 scholarly articles on various international literatures in English, he has edited numerous books, including Contemporary African American Novelists (1999), African American Authors, 1745-1945 (2000), and Asian American Novelists (2000), all available from Greenwood Press.

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