The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Literature covers a period dating back to the eighteenth century. These specially commissioned essays highlight the artistry, complexity and diversity of a literary tradition that ranges from Lucy Terry to Toni Morrison. A wide range of topics are addressed, from the Harlem Renaissance to the Black Arts Movement, and from the performing arts to popular fiction. Together, the essays provide an invaluable guide to a rich, complex tradition of women writers in conversation with each other as they critique American society and influence American letters. Accessible and vibrant, with the needs of undergraduate students in mind, this Companion will be of great interest to anybody who wishes to gain a deeper understanding of this important and vital area of American literature.
Chronology of major works and events; Introduction Angelyn Mitchell and Danille Taylor; Part I. History, Contexts, and Criticism: 1. Early African American women's literature Frances Smith Foster and LaRose Davis; 2. Women of the Harlem Renaissance Cheryl A. Wall; 3. Women writers of the Black Arts Movement Eleanor W. Traylor; 4. Contemporary African American women writers Dana A. Williams; 5. African American feminist theories and literary criticism Robert J. Patterson; Part II. Genre, Gender and Race: 6. African American women and the United States narrative Joycelyn Moody; 7. Autobiography and African American women's literature Joanne M. Braxton; 8. 'Even some fiction might be useful': African American women novelists Madhu Dubey; 9. African American women poets and the power of the word Keith Leonard; 10. African American women in the performing arts Olga Barrios; 11. African American women writers of children's and young adult literature Dianne Johnson; 12. African American women essayists Marilyn Sanders Mobley; 13. African American women writers and the short story Crystal J. Lucky; 14. African American women writers and popular fiction: theorizing black womanhood Herman Beavers; Bibliography.