The Cambridge Companion to African American Women's Literature

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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.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Angelyn Mitchell is Associate Professor of English and African American Studies, Georgetown University.

Danille K. Taylor is Dean of Humanities, Dillard University.

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Table of Contents

List of contributors ix

Acknowledgements xii

Chronology of major works and events xiii

Introduction Angelyn Mitchell Danille K. Taylor 1

I History, Contexts, and Criticism 13

1 Early African American women's literature Frances Smith Foster Larose Davis 15

2 Women of the Harlem Renaissance Cheryl A. Wall 32

3 Women writers of the Black Arts movement Eleanor W. Traylor 50

4 Contemporary African American women writers Dana A. Williams 71

5 African American feminist theories and literary criticism Robert J. Patterson 87

II Genre, Gender, and Race 107

6 African American women and the United States slave narrative Joycelyn Moody 109

7 Autobiography and African American women's literature Joanne M. Braxton 128

8 "Even some fiction might be useful": African American women novelists Madhu Dubey 150

9 African American women poets and the power of the word Keith D. Leonard 168

10 African American women in the performing arts Olga Barrios 187

11 African American women writers of children's and young adult literature Dianne Johnson 210

12 African American women essayists Marilyn Sanders Mobley 224

13 African American women writers and the short story Crystal J. Lucky 245

14 African American women writers and popular fiction: theorizing black womanhood Herman Beavers 262

Bibliography 278

Index 301

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