Criticism and the Color Line: Desegregating American Literary Studies / Edition 1

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Overview

This volume celebrates the hybridity of American literary culture. Over the last decade and more, American literary studies have tended, with only a few rare and recent exceptions, to look at separate strands of literary history and tradition--African American or white, male or female, lesbian or gay or straight. Every contributor to this collection, no matter how widely varied the point of view in other ways, examines the dynamic relationship between "mainstream" and African-American expressive traditions in American culture. Engaging the work of writers from Edgar Allan Poe and Frederick Douglass to William Styron and Ernest Gaines, they concur in treating the color line as a site of cultural mutation where American identities are produced, not diluted, through acts of cultural exchange. The book draws new research into the rich, contentious, yet thoroughly pluralistic cultural equation that is American literature. Toni Morrison's ground-breaking lecture, "Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature" opens the book, which then moves on to provocative essays by scholars who have heeded her call for a rethinking of American literary tradition, black and white.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813522630
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 8.93 (h) x 0.83 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature 16
Mr. Clemens and Jim Crow: Twain, Race, and Blackface 30
"Who I Was": Ethnic Identity and American Literary Ethnocentrism 43
Reading Black, White, and Gray in 1968: The Origins of the Contemporary Narrativity of Slavery 63
The Politics of Mourning: Cultural Grief-Work from Frederick Douglass to Fanny Fern 95
Black and White Voices in an Early African-American Colonization Narrative: Problems of Genre and Emergence 112
Howells, Du Bois, and the Effect of "Common-Sense": Race, Realism, and Nervousness in An Imperative Duty and The Souls of Black Folk 126
The Remaking of Americans: Gertrude Stein's "Melanctha" and African-American Musical Traditions 140
The Master's Tools Revisited: Foundation Work in Anna Julia Cooper 158
The African-American Presence in Stowe's Dred 171
Sentimental Abolition in Douglass's Decade: Revision, Erotic Conversion, and the Politics of Witnessing in "The Heroic Slave" and My Bondage and My Freedom 191
The Blind Leading the Blind: The Racial Gaze as Plot Dilemma in "Benito Cereno" and "The Heroic Slave" 205
The Ghost of Race: Edgar Allan Poe and the Southern Gothic 230
Interrogating "Whiteness," Complicating "Blackness": Remapping American Culture 251
Notes on Contributors 291
Index 293
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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2002

    clear, concise,clever, current, collectible

    Variety of experience and depth. Exposure of what is out there and what should be out there.

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