The Cambridge History of African American Literature

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The first major twenty-first century history of four hundred years of black writing, The Cambridge History of African American Literature presents a comprehensive overview of the literary traditions, oral and print, of African-descended peoples in the United States. Expert contributors, drawn from the United States and beyond, emphasize the dual nature of each text discussed as a work of art created by an individual and as a response to unfolding events in American cultural, political, and social history. Unprecedented in scope, sophistication and accessibility, the volume draws together current scholarship in the field. It also looks ahead to suggest new approaches, new areas of study, and as yet undervalued writers and works. The Cambridge History of African American Literature is a major achievement both as a work of reference and as a compelling narrative and will remain essential reading for scholars and students in years to come.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Covering 400 years of writing, this balanced reference is a comprehensive overview of the literary traditions, oral and print, of African-descended peoples in the United States, with expert contributors from this country and beyond. It does an excellent job of collecting current scholarship while suggesting new approaches to that effort. The work provides a reasonably complete chronological accounting from early oral traditions of the 17th century to classic works from late 19th-century writers such as poet Paul Laurence Dunbar, through Langston Hughes in the Harlem Renaissance, to the most recent decades where August Wilson became the most produced playwright in the 1990s."
-Library Journal, Best Reference 2011: Language & Linguistics

"Comprised of newly published essays by leading and emerging scholars in African American literature, CHAAL chronicles four hundred years of black writing and cultural production across multiple genres of writing (e.g., fiction, drama, and poetry) as well as across multiple physical, social, and ideological terrains. Since constructing a literary his- tory is at the center of this project, editors Maryemma Graham and Jerry Ward, Jr. carefully articulate the basis upon which this text articulates such a history."
-American Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521872171
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/3/2011
  • Pages: 860
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Maryemma Graham is a Professor of English at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, USA.

Jerry W. Ward, Jr is a Professor of English at Dillard University, New Orleans, USA.

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Table of Contents

Introduction Maryemma Graham and Jerry Ward; Part I. African American Literature from Its Origins to the Twentieth Century: 1. Sounds of a tradition: the souls of Black folk F. Abiola Irele; 2. Early print literature of Africans in America Philip Gould; 3. The emergence of an African American literary canon, 1760–1820 Vincent Carretta; 4. Dividing a nation, uniting a people: African American literature and the Abolitionist Movement Stefan Wheelock; 5. African American literature and the slave narrative genre John Ernest; 6. Writing freedom: race, religion, and revolution, 1820–1840 Kimberly Blockett; 7. 'We wish to plead our own cause': independent Antebellum African American literature, 1840–1865 Joycelyn Moody; 8. Racial ideologies in theory and practice: political and cultural nationalism, 1865–1910 Warren Carson; 9. The 'fictions' of race Keith Byerman and Hanna Wallinger; 10. 'We wear the mask': the making of a poet Keith Leonard; 11. Toward a modernist poetics Mark Sanders; Part II. African American Literature Since the Twentieth Century: 12. Foundations of African American modernism, 1910–1950 Craig Werner and Sandra Shannon; 13. The New Negro Movement and the politics of art Emily Bernard; 14. African American literature and the Great Depression Darryl Dickson-Carr; 15. Weaving jagged words: the Black Left, 1930s–1940s Nicole Walingora-Davis; 16. Writing the American story, 1945–1952 John Lowe; 17. Geographies of the modern: writing beyond borders and boundaries Sabine Broeck; 18. African American literature by writers of Caribbean descent Daryl Cumber Dance; 19. Reform and revolution, 1965–1976: the Black aesthetic at work James Smethurst and Howard Ramsby; 20. History as fact and fiction Trudier Harris; 21. Redefining the art of poetry Opal Moore; 22. Cultural resistance and avant-garde aesthetics: African American poetry from 1970 to the present Tony Bolden; 23. New frontiers, cross-currents and convergencies: emerging cultural paradigms Madhu Dubey and Elizabeth Goldberg; Part III. African American Literature as Academic and Cultural Capital: 24. Children's and young adult literatures Giselle L. Anatol; 25. From writer to reader: Black popular fiction Candice Love Jackson; 26. Cultural capital and the presence of Africa: Lorraine Hansberry, August Wilson and the power of Black theatre Harry Elam; 27. African American literature: foundational scholarship, criticism and theory Lawrence P. Jackson; 28. African American literatures and new world cultures Kenneth Warren; Bibliography; Suggested further reading.
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