In a major contribution to the study of race in American literature, Kenneth W. Warren argues that late-nineteenth-century literary realism was shaped by and in turn helped to shape post-Civil War racial politics. Taking up a variety of novelists, including Henry James and William Dean Howells, he shows that even works not directly concerned with race were instrumental in the return after reconstruction to a racially segregated society.
The strangers are not only black and white people, says Warren (English, U. of Chicago) but also American and Afro-American literature. He argues that the rise of literary realism in the late 19th century both shaped and was shaped by the growing politics of racial difference after Reconstruction. He examines novels by Henry James and William Dean Howells, but says they cannot be understood except in conjunction with those by W. E. B. DuBois and Frances E. W. Harper. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Table of Contents
1: Reading Henry James
2: Aesthetics, Race, and "Warrants of Decency"
3: The Persistence of Uncle Tom and the Problem of Critical Distinction
4: Black and White Strangers